As the seasons change around us, times of transition may help us be a bit more open to the moments of stillness that arrive on the cusp of breezes, lingering sunsets, and walks that are a bit more meandering than usual.
Everyone can experience these soft moments of inner peace that arise and grace our lives with a touch of mindful gentleness. Of course, it seems these instances can be all too fleeting, gone before we ever truly relax into them. The demands of our day, our work, and our life jump back in, and once again we’re wrapped up in the confusion of our concerns.
Why is it difficult for us to maintain these moments of awakened clarity? Even in meditation, we may find that our session is packed with busy thoughts, emotional waves, and ceaseless distractions. It can seem like even when we intentionally set time for stillness, we are only making moments that are steeped in the problems of our day.
In order to better access stillness, I often ask my students to consider the very nature of stillness. When we experience stillness solely in contrast to our busy minds, we inadvertently view this space as empty, void of experience. In actuality, these moments are much like a white canvas staring back at us. At first, it may seem blank but soon, if you apply the proper attention, you may experience shapes, shadows, colors, new ideas, and feelings.
Our ability to access these more abstract communications from our world can have a profound impact on our quality of life. This state of being heightens our senses. It allows us the space needed to integrate so that we are no longer separate beings but part of a larger whole.
Stillness can be accessed by connecting with your heart center. Finding this center brings a feeling of security that allows one to let go into stillness. We resist at first because even though these moments liberate us, stepping off the treadmill of life and into the space of stillness is not unlike taking an expansive leap into the unknown. We fear the fall but soon find new ground in the more spacious state of being.
The specifics of the experience are of course unique to each of us but they are always accessible through the heart. It can be difficult to ask our busy mind to leave its task-orientated state and rest in the heart. Yet these quiet moments, where we go inward, through the heart, will help you to maintain clarity, peace, and grounding, even in difficult times.
Consider the following exercise for finding your peaceful center:
Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Take some deep breaths and relax your body, breathing deeply until you feel peaceful within.
Try to rid your mind of thoughts and feelings.
Next link with your heart chakra in the middle of your chest.
Try to experience the heart chakra. It can be a slight pressure, a movement, a light, or even an image.
When you feel you are experiencing it, place the question in your heart chakra: What is a process that will help me come to a place of inner peace?
When you finish the exercise, take notes on what you discovered and practice what you learned. By spending time with the process you create during ordinary times, you equip yourself to access stillness in times that are more challenging.