top of page

How to Be Still

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:


  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.


1. Appreciate the Importance of Stillness

Eckhart Tolle quote

"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


COACHING NOTES:

Let us begin by putting aside all we think we know about stillness, including our story and struggles, and coming to these quotes with an open curiosity.


  1. "Because the thoughts came out of stillness, they have power..." As you read the wisdom quotes here, recognize that they have power - the power "to take you back into the same stillness from which they arose."

  2. "That stillness and peace is the essence of your Being." Therefore, these words have the power to bring you back to the essence of your being. It is here that what we call "transformation" takes place, where everything that is not true simply falls away to reveal the love and oneness of Source.

  3. As J. Krishnamurti says, "We are the world." Therefore, as this inner stillness saves and transforms us, it also saves and transforms the world. And so, we begin this journey by appreciating how astonishingly important it is to know this inner stillness.



2. Become Aware of Stillness

Eckhart Tolle quote

"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


COACHING NOTES:

Let us become familiar with "the language God speaks."


  1. "Stillness is really another word for space." It can be very helpful to think of stillness in this way because we are all familiar with space. There's the space between objects and the space between sounds. There's also the space of "outer space," where sound does not exist and there is no end in sight.

  2. "Becoming conscious of stillness... will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves." From our perception in the world of form, the formless dimension is a huge mystery which is impossible to grasp intellectually. However, our formless essence is never further than our own awareness.

  3. Read the last two paragraphs again and notice the repeated use of the words: "when you are still." To know yourself as "unconditioned, formless," and "eternal," you must be willing to drop who you think you are. Be willing to drop all beliefs and tune in to the stillness that is always present beyond the thinking mind.




3. Calm Yourself by Breathing

Thich Nhat Hanh quote

"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


COACHING NOTES:

Allow Thich Nhat Hanh to take you to "a lake in the highlands, among the mountains," where "the water is so still that it truly reflects the blue sky and the mountains."


  1. As you imagine this still water with its clear reflections, breathe in and realize that it is a beautiful picture of your calm mind.

  2. As you breathe out "in that state of calm and stillness, you reflect things as they are," and no longer perceive your life in a distorted way, as a troubled mind does. Notice the difference in your perception when you are still and when you're not.

  3. "Sitting quietly and breathing in and out is a wonderful way to calm yourself and to be still water." Your breath is always with you. Whenever you find yourself being pulled into your stressful thoughts, use your breath as an anchor, to ground you in this moment. Know yourself as still water.




4. Take a Look for Yourself

Adyashanti

"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 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



COACHING NOTES:


For five years, Adyashanti started his meditation practice by trying to still his mind. Until he asked himself the question: “Is it still already?”


  1. The answer he discovered, which is here for us all to realize, is 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." All the effort he thought he needed to become still wasn't actually necessary.

  2. "Stillness was not waiting for the mind to be still. Stillness was still anyway." There is a big difference between trying to manufacture stillness and entering into the stillness that is already here. It's like trying to become present when you already are.

  3. Adyashanti says that "be still" is not a demand, but an invitation to acknowledge stillness. This is so liberating because it doesn't depend on you and your state of mind. There's nothing to do here except realize the stillness that is already present... all the time. So allow yourself to relax into this ever-present, beautiful stillness.




5. Investigate What You Are

Adyashanti

"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 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


COACHING NOTES:


When you truthfully investigate who and what you are beyond your thoughts, it naturally brings you to stillness.


  1. Will you stop long enough to try the five-second experiment? If you feel you can't stop thinking for five seconds, try counting the seconds and leaving gaps in between the numbers. Notice the space of being present without your identity. Try this experiment as often as you remember to.

  2. "If you get simple enough..." What do you think is meant by these words? What is it that stops us from getting simple? Consider the mind with all its concepts, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Consider the complicated stories that are woven in webs of thought. Allow yourself to get simple enough to see that "your whole identity is only in thought. Your worldview is just thought."

  3. When you realize that your entire world is created by thought, and that these thoughts are interfering with knowing yourself as who you really are, you naturally relax your attachment to those thoughts. When you relax your attachment and no longer hold onto your thoughts so much, they naturally let go of you and you become free to experience the stillness of your true nature.




6. Relax Into Yourself

Adyashanti

"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."



COACHING NOTES:


Every week in the Wisdom Quotes Cafe, no matter what topic we are exploring, it always comes back to the same thing: knowing yourself and your true nature. This is the root of all other understanding because all our misconceptions and misunderstandings dissolve in the face of it.


  1. At the beginning of this week, what was your answer to "How to be still"? What is your answer now?

  2. Go inside yourself by taking your focus off your experience of life - your thoughts, feelings, and sense perceptions - and bringing your attention deeper inside, back to the source of life. It's no more difficult than breathing. Breathe and relax into the background of experience.

  3. "This is the best gift you can give to the people around you - your peace, your stillness, your inner fulfillment..." Consider the truth of these words and how they apply to your present life circumstances. Are you too busy to be still? When you come back to stillness, time is no longer an issue. Do you have a lot of problems you're trying to fix with your mind? When you return to stillness, you realize that all your problems are only found in the mind. Has stillness always been something too mysterious that only a few can grasp? Keep believing that thought and you deprive yourself of the deepest peace and safety that is your innermost being. Remain open, relax all your doing, and allow yourself to sink into the stillness of your true nature.



7. Song: Stillness Is...


I was inspired to write this song about stillness, with insights received from the Adyashanti quotes in this post. Why not sing along with me?


LYRICS:


Stillness is the peace that is within you

The peace that is the essence of your being

"How can I be still?" you ask, I hear you

Listen to this song and you will see


Stillness is the space between your thinking

The formless, timeless space that's found in you

Stillness is the language God is speaking

It resonates in all of us as true


Stillness is reflection in still water

No distortion, everything is clear

Stillness is what you were before you came here

And what you will be when you disappear


Stillness is the perfect invitation

Will you listen? How will you respond?

Even though your mind will try to tell you

Just give up, you're doing it all wrong


Stillness is the path of least resistance

There is nothing that you need to do

It is dwelling here within your spirit

Stillness is already one with you


So, relax into this simple moment

Feel alignment within, around, above

Find yourself, your whole and perfect nature

Lose yourself in stillness, peace and love.










Comments


bottom of page