Friday, January 17, 2014

1/18/14—Finding Stillness

I've been watching sunsets from my front porch nearly every night lately. I sit on my stoop wrapped in a blanket. Passers by ask if I'm locked out or if I'm OK. Sometimes I have my boy, Kizzie, out there with me. And I've managed to see three sunrises this year, which is about as many as I saw all last year. I'm a night owl, so I saw those sunrises before going to bed...haha. When you're still awake at 5:30, you may as well just stay up to see the sunrise. That's what I say. 

There's a special stillness that comes at dawn and dusk. At dusk, the day's noise settles down and earth's little critters settle in their nests. I imagine the squirrels in their nests, wearing smoking jackets, sitting in a lounge chair and reading a good book. I'm sure that's what everyone imagines. :D At dawn, there is a slow, quiet awakening before everyone gets about the day's business. At these times of day I find it easy to access the stillness within me. 

There is a place at the core of all of us, I believe, that is devoid of thought and emotion. It's not a happy place or a sad place. It's neutral. Literally nothing happens there and yet it seems like the point of origin for all that it is. If we're ever able to wrap our head around where all the galaxies in the universe came from and where the space comes from that the universe expands into, we may understand that place of stillness within.

For me, I find it easiest to reach through meditation. First I listen to all the noise around me, aiming to hear the slightest click of a branch in the breeze. And then I listen deeper, all the way until I can hear the silence. Then when my attention is so attuned to the silence that I can no longer hear the noise, the stillness reveals itself. And there I am in a place lacking in conscious thought or whatever it might have felt like in the time before the galaxies existed. Getting there is like anything else you do in life. It's hard when you first try. Then one day it becomes second nature.

So many of us forget the importance of injecting peace and stillness into our days. We all need to push the reset button and cleanse our palates from time to time. I know not everyone is open to meditation, but I think that's the only way you get to the place I describe. But being in the zone, like when you get so lost in something that you seem to enter a trance-like state, is pretty close to what I describe. The difference is that meditation brings you there intentionally, rather than incidentally. And since the experience comes without an activity attached, you fall deeper and more "consciously" into the stillness.

Whatever might transport you to a still, calm space this weekend, make it a priority. This is especially true for people who don't have the time or patience for this nonsense...haha. Even if only for 15 minutes. It's a rest your body needs. Sleep is filled with dreams and tossing and turning. So you're not getting stillness then. So when are you getting it? If the answer is, "not often enough," make it your weekend project.


  1. I am happy (and proud) to say I've been meditating very regularly for the last couple of weeks. It gets easier to keep this little "appointment" with myself when I do it more often.

  2. Good for you, Ellen. The more you practice the easier and deeper your meditations get. I never sit long, but I do go pretty deep. :)