Some kind of way it has been ingrained into our psyche that busyness equals productivity. In some cases that’s true because you can’t get much accomplished being still, or can you? Just about every form of communication encourages you, entices you, coerces you, even commands or demands you to do something all the time! We are bombarded by the media to do something other than what we are doing, even when it comes to relaxing. In order to relax we are incessantly fed impressions that you’ve got to do something to get “there”. Commercialism and tourism do their best marketing to convince us that we’re not really relaxing if we don’t do so on a resort island or that we’re not having fun unless it’s in an exclusive, remote location. The typical idea about a good vacation is one that it takes months to save up for or pay off; we’re exhausted when we return, all to realize we spent too much money while we were working to relax. We’ve all been influenced and have created mental pictures of someone else’s idea of vacation rest, relaxation or stillness. We have time for what they say, but do we have time for who we are?
You’ve seen it on TV – relaxation looks like a couple walking along the beach, friends on a cruise ship, or a family at an amusement park and all those things are wonderful experiences we enjoy. Those situations may promote an entry level of relaxation and stress relief, but what about stillness? It doesn’t take a long time and it’s free! When is the last time you really relaxed by taking quality time to be still and just experience peace and quiet? And I don’t mean sleep! The first thing that may come to mind is the perception that says, “I don’t have time.” Really? Why does it seem so hard for us do? We have smart phones, computers, microwaves, many technological advances and even cars that help us get things done faster than ever. Where has the time saved gone? Why is quiet time or stillness something we save for last IF we have time? It’s gotten to the point that some of us even feel guilty thinking about it, much less actually doing it. Could it be we just don’t want to be quiet? Do we know how to “be still”? Maybe we don’t want to be responsible for what we hear from the loud silence of stillness or meditation? Or maybe we fear because we perceive stillness as emptiness?
I once heard a story about a little boy whose mother told him to sit down and he defiantly said, “I’m sitting down on the outside but I am standing up on the inside!” Sometimes we take those nice luxury vacations for relaxation and that’s exactly what we do. We appear to be relaxing, vacationing, experiencing a form of external stillness but we’re standing up on the inside, still working our troubled minds. We compete in our own mental Olympics trying to handle our most challenging situations with thought games. We’re doing the act on the outside but the inside is all beat to hell – worn out! We’re still filled with dissatisfaction, having so many unanswered questions, unfulfilled goals dreams, incomplete visions and thoughts. Why is it so hard to be still, meditate or pray to experience internal pampering that relieves atmospheric pressures? Could it be because of how we perceive stillness? We perceive it as laziness and we equate it with those who are unproductive. Now don’t get it twisted stillness and laziness are two different things relaxation and procrastination aren’t even in the same family. You already know the difference. You can see it you can feel it and even if you don’t know how the difference when looking at others, you know how it looks within you!
I don’t know about you but has a child growing up when I heard those words, “You better get somewhere and “sa-down!” (sit down) and be still!” as if “sa-down!” wasn’t still enough. It was always related to punishment and even if you didn’t want to do it you had better… I know my grandparents and parents had no inkling about stillness, meditation, consciousness or self-discovery back then, but they knew something about getting somewhere and sitting down would help keep you out of trouble, if no other reasons but to think. They knew that being still would cause a change of mind that would influence a positive change in behavior. Now, don’t perceive stillness as a way to promote punishment or be bound by an overly structured method that forces obedience. You may be thinking of stillness or meditation as a middle-eastern ritual, where you’re seated with your legs folded in the form of a pretzel, chanting “ohhmm”. That may be necessary for some but stillness and meditation have more to do with the posture of your mind more so than the position your body. Regardless of how you’ve seen or perceived stillness in times past let me offer you five of the numerous benefits of stillness and if you will open your mind and heart you will discover them to be profitable.
- Being still is beyond rest or relaxation and promotes a lifestyle of peace.
- Stillness can diminish the destructive side effects of stressful situations.
- Meditation and stillness can accomplish in moments what “doing” could take years to achieve.
- Stillness allows you to connect to your internal compass for purpose-filled guidance and spot-on direction.
- Being still allows you to commune with the God in you when words feel inadequate.
You aren’t fearful of that conversation are you? When is the last time you consulted with the God in you? When’s the last time you asked yourself who am I? Why was I born? What do I want to be? Where am I going? Who is really with me? How is my life relevant? How does who I am and my purpose serve the world? And if you have asked yourself those questions, when is the last time you took time to stick around to hear your answers and consistently obey them. Please have time for that. Please make time for stillness. But you can’t do it spending so much time learning and rehearsing someone else’s script for your life! This is your life story to write. Who has your pen or who is your director? Stillness is where you purify and refresh your mind to write, cast, direct and produce your own lifetime movie. It takes being still to know…I Am.
© 2012 – 2013, Tracy McNeil. All rights reserved.