Some people are constantly on the move. For some, it is their nature to be activity oriented, happiest when in motion. For others, however, it looks more like restlessness, almost as though they are afraid to slow down.
John Daido Loori, in 'The Still Point' says,
"Every other creature on the face of the earth knows how to be quiet and still. A butterfly on a leaf, a cat in front of a fireplace; even a hummingbird comes to rest sometime. But humans are constantly on the go. We seem to have lost the ability to just be quiet, to simply be present in the stillness that is the foundation of our lives. Yet if we never get in touch with that stillness, we never fully experience our lives."
I wonder why this is so hard? Are we afraid that if we stop we'll never get started again? Are we afraid of what we'll find if we are just being ourselves?
Yet, it's within that very stillness we avoid that we can meet ourselves. From stillness we can see our natural kindness. From stillness, we can make better choices. From stillness we can allow ourselves to be guided by our natural inclinations and to have faith that they will bring good results.
In and of itself, stillness provides us with a depth and richness of experience that we often miss while we are in motion. I stop often while walking. In that moment of stillness, I can take it all in: the sudden beauty of a dewdrop on a spider web or the grace of a bird taking flight.
Henry David Thoreau said,
"I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise until noon, rapt in a reverie amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around ... I grew in those seasons like corn in the night."
I may not have the hours that Thoreau devoted to experiencing himself in nature, but I can give myself a few minutes each day for stillness. When I do, I rediscover that stillness is the very underpinning of my life.
Adapted from "Mystery", first published March 2001 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.