What does stillness mean? I wondered for a while… How exactly does one practice stillness? As we are made of ever-moving atomic mass, how does one become truly still?
Even within our mind, it is difficult to achieve stillness: our thoughts jump from “my to-do list” to “why did I say that?” to “what am I having for lunch?”. So I wonder, how would I practice stillness if every aspect of my being is in constant motion?
The more I thought about it, the concept of stillness slowly began to take the shape of the centering exercise we practice at the beginning of a Yoga class:
- Seat yourself in a comfortable position
- Arrange padding under your sit bones, keeping your hips higher than your knees
- Keep your spine elongated and the pelvis upright, ensuring the spine is not rounded
- Bring one heel in towards your groin; keep your second leg straight out in front of you or rest it on top of the first foot (if you feel discomfort in your ankles or knees you may stretch one or both legs in front of you)
- Raise the crown of your head towards the ceiling, stretch your spine out long and tall
- Rest your hands on your thighs or knees with palms either facing up or down
- Gently close your eyes or lower your gaze downward
“Take a few seconds to adjust your body to this position. Breath in deeply, and take your time to exhale. Notice the noises coming from the street, feelings and sensations inside your body, thoughts going through your mind. When a thought comes to you, neither hold onto it, nor push it away. Simply acknowledge the thought and move on from it. Whenever your mind starts wandering, reign it in with a deep, cleansing breath.”
Take as long as you’d like to stay in this moment; this is what stillness means to me.
There are thoughts and activity everywhere, but I am floating in calmness and hope. At this point I am not forcing anything, nor am I pursuing anything. I am just there, existing in a space where my mind and my body are together as one.
This is what stillness encompasses for me.The experience of stillness doesn’t stay still, it keeps evolving. I wouldn’t dare to define stillness to you, this is simply how I find stillness, and I hope that you may want to experience this stillness yourself.
I would love to hear about your own experiences with finding stillness, whether through my method or one of your own creation.
I hope you get to enjoy a sip of stillness!