A Journey into Stillness
Would you rather continue trying to make yourself still, or relax into the stillness that is already here?
How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:
Put aside everything you think you already know.
Open your mind and heart to receive something new.
Take your time going through each point.
Return to any points that particularly touch you.
In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.
1. The Importance of Stillness
"This book uses words that in the act of reading become thoughts in your mind. But those are not ordinary thoughts - repetitive, noisy, self-serving, clamoring for attention.
Just like every true spiritual teacher, just like the ancient sutras, the thoughts within this book don't say, "Look at me," but "Look beyond me." Because the thoughts came out of stillness, they have power - the power to take you back into the same stillness from which they arose.
That stillness is also inner peace, and that stillness and peace is the essence of your Being. It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world."
~Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
We begin our journey with the profound statement: "It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world." If this is true, we must appreciate how astonishingly important it is to know this inner stillness.
Let us put aside all we think we know, and come with an open curiousity to discover fresh insights in the coming days. As you read the wisdom quotes, allow them "to take you back into the same stillness from which they arose."
2. Becoming Aware of Stillness
"It has been said: "Stillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation."
Stillness is really another word for space.
Becoming conscious of stillness whenever we encounter it in our lives will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves, that which is beyond thought, beyond ego.
It may be the stillness that pervades the world of nature, or the stillness in your room in the early hours of the morning, or the silent gaps in between sounds.
Stillness has no form - that is why through thinking we cannot become aware of it. Thought is form. Being aware of stillness means to be still. To be still is to be conscious without thought.
You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still. When you are still, you are who you were before you temporarily assumed this physical and mental form called a person. You are also who you will be when the form dissolves.
When you are still, you are who you are beyond your temporal existence: consciousness - unconditioned, formless, eternal."
~Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Here, we learn that when we notice stillness in the world around us, for example, in nature, in a quiet room, or in the space between sounds, it "will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves."
In other words, we can use the stillness around us, in our everyday lives, to bring us back to the peace within us, to that place of pure consciousness, to our true selves.
Consider the following:
Stillness has no form.
Stillness is space.
Stillness is the language God speaks.
3. Receiving the Truth in Stillness
"Let us visualize a lake in the highlands, among the mountains. The water is so still that it truly reflects the blue sky and the mountains.
If you look into the water you see your face, not distorted at all because the water is calm, is still. If you take a picture of the lake, you will see the mountains and the sky reflected in it are just the mountains and the sky above.
When you practice breathing in you say, “Breathing in, I see myself as still water.” It means you calm yourself by breathing. Your breathing can become a wonderful instrument in order to calm yourself.
And when you breathe out you see that, in that state of calm and stillness, you reflect things as they are. You do not distort things anymore. When we are not calm we distort things. We cannot receive the message of other people. You cannot receive the truth from other beings.
If you are still, then your perceptions will be correct and we will understand what people are trying to tell us. The moon, the mountains, the rivers, the trees, everything is trying to tell us the truth, but because the water of our mind is not still, we are not able to receive the truth from the cosmos.
Therefore, we should practice breathing in and out and calm ourselves for true understanding to be possible. Sitting quietly and breathing in and out is a wonderful way to calm yourself and to be still water."
~Thich Nhat Hanh, from the video: Mindfulness and Stillness - Short Meditation
In this short meditation we are brought into an appreciation of what it means to be like still water, reflecting the reality of things instead of seeing them in a distorted way. "If you are still, then your perceptions will be correct and we will understand what people are trying to tell us." Do you want to understand what people are trying to tell you? Be still.
We are also reminded that "sitting quietly and breathing in and out is a wonderful way to calm yourself." Today, notice when you feel agitated or bothered in any way and remember to breathe deeply and be calm, like still water.
4. Finding Stillness
"There I was, sitting down to meditate and getting ready to try to be still - which is the best way not to be still - and this little thought occurred to me.
“Is it still already?”
You say, okay, your job is to sit down and be quiet. You would think the very first thing that you would ask yourself is, “Is it quiet?” But no, five years later I got around to asking myself. “Is it actually quiet before I try to make it quiet?”
And I was shocked! It is. It’s totally quiet before I try to make it quiet. It’s totally silent before I try to make it silent. It’s totally peaceful before I try to make it peaceful.
And more shocking than that was that this stillness and this quiet had nothing to do with my mind being still and quiet.
Stillness was still whether the mind was still or not. Stillness was not waiting for the mind to be still. Stillness was still anyway. Quiet wasn’t waiting for the mind to be quiet. If the mind was quiet, fine. If it wasn’t, quietness was still quiet. Like the quietness that fills this room.
See, we always think that the noise is the most true thing. If noise, like the noise that I’m generating right now by speaking to you, is the most true thing, why do I have to continually generate it? Why does it die as soon as my mouth stops moving? Can you notice what is actually happening? There’s 99% silence, and 1% noise.
So, being still is really the movement of acknowledging stillness. Be still. It’s not a demand. It’s an invitation to take a look for yourself."
~Adyashanti, from the video: Adyashanti - On Stillness
Adyashanti shares with us a valuable insight he received after five years of starting his meditation practice by trying to still his mind. After asking himself the question, “Is it still already?” he discovered that "It’s totally quiet before I try to make it quiet. It’s totally silent before I try to make it silent. It’s totally peaceful before I try to make it peaceful."
This is just like trying to become present when we already are.
Consider the revelation that is presented in this example and ask yourself: Would I rather continue trying to make myself still or relax into the stillness that is already here?
5. Losing Ourselves in Stillness
"When you start to investigate, “What am I?” when you really investigate it, you find it brings you to stillness.
If you really investigate the nature of “I” for yourself - not through some books, not through some psychology, not through some spirituality, not through some theology, not through what I’m saying right now, through your own observation - if you really look at the nature of your own self, it will bring you into stillness.
You realize, if you can get simple enough - you can get simple enough this very moment - if you get simple enough, you can see that almost everything you know about yourself, everything you think you know about yourself is contained in thought. It’s just thought.
So, if you do a little experiment and just notice, if you stop thinking for just five seconds - that’s not too much - notice what disappears. If you stop thinking for five seconds. And remember, these five seconds you’re looking into the real nature, your self, what you are, because that’s the doorway into the divine.
What am I? What am I without referring to thought to tell me what I am?
It all disappears, does it not? Without referring to thought, are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you a human being? Are you good? Are you bad? Are you indifferent? Are you worthy? Are you unworthy? Are you someone’s daughter, brother, sister, mother, father...?
Or do you have to think about it? Or does all that disappear if you’re not thinking about it?
I noticed that I had missed the most significant thing about stillness and I noticed that most people that I meet also miss the most significant thing about stillness.
The most amazing thing about stillness is you lose your whole self. Your whole identity is only in thought. Your worldview is just thought."
~Adyashanti, from the video: Adyashanti - On Stillness
How do you feel about losing yourself in stillness? Does it sound scary or liberating? Are you willing to try the little experiment of not thinking for five seconds? Even if you can only manage two seconds and you have work up to five, that's okay.
Notice what it's like to take a break from your identity and enter into stillness.
6. Relaxing into the Depths of Stillness
"In the core of stillness lies absolute love. Go inside of you and go with this thought that in the core of stillness lies absolute love. That stillness and love, they’re both always there, behind our thoughts, behind our emotions, behind the mind.
That stillness and that love are always there.
So this is a process of relaxing, of letting go into that which is already here. Relax into that stillness, this soft depth that is always there behind the mind.
You can rely on the presence of your innermost heart, that heart essence in you. You can rely on that. It is there. It holds you. To the mind, stillness may be quite unsettling. To the heart, it’s like an elixir, like nectar. And so let the heart hold you in that space of the heart, in that space of love.
In that stillness perhaps you can recognize that that love in you is there and that it’s first, for you, to fill yourself up with that, with the peace of it, the deep safety of it.
And, in this stillness, perhaps you can find some places in you where you can open further to receiving the stillness, the peace, the love, which, in the end, are all the same thing - in this relaxing into yourself.
So you bathe yourself in that love that you find in the stillness, you fill yourself completely. This is the best gift you can give to the people around you - your peace, your stillness, your inner fulfillment, the recognition that you have met the Beloved and it is you.
You learn how you can hold yourself in this space of peace. And as you go deeper and deeper into the heart, that peace, that stillness intensifies. It thickens. It becomes like a blanket of peace that covers you - every part of you."
~Ram Giri, from the video: HeartSourcing Satsang - Mexico - Stillness
"Go inside of you and go with this thought that in the core of stillness lies absolute love." Surely this is an invitation we can't refuse.
This love, in the core of stillness, is holding us in the DEEPLY SAFE space of the heart, waiting to fill us up and cover us over in a blanket of peace.
We see that the stillness, the peace, and the love are all the same thing and are always there. All we need to do is RELAX into ourselves.
7. Absorb the Quotes
Enjoy this short, three-minute video, which features some of the above quotes. Allow the music and words to take you deeply into yourself.
I recommend memorizing some of these quotes and letting them hide in your heart so they can speak to you at the appropriate time.