“Be still and know.” These words have echoed through the ages holding the promise of knowing the truth of our own nature, of who we are and why we are here. Stillness can be elusive in this world gone wild. Stimulation comes to us from many directions: The demands of daily life, the dramas playing out on the world stage, dreaming our dreams, caring for ourselves and our relationships, every day a new list of to-dos. How do we maintain a connection to our deepest, most authentic self, and inner peace?
Stillness is a dimension within our consciousness and can’t be found by thinking about stillness. Thoughts can be helpful as pointers, but stillness can’t be known through mental concepts.
The stillness spoken of here is a natural, eternal ground of being, it does not come and go. It just is. An unshakeable center found everywhere and nowhere, beyond the physical, beyond movement, beyond time.
“Within you there is a stillness, a sanctuary to which you can retreat any time.” – Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha
Emotions, fear, sadness, grief can cloud our inner knowing. Yet stillness can be cultivated even within the chaos of one’s life. I invite you to experiment with the following meditation, an inner peace challenge if you will. This meditation offers an opportunity to experience a relaxed sense of presence, a path to inner peace within yourself. As you meditate, you are not suppressing your thoughts. You are being present for what is beyond thought.
Each day for the next 21 days, take time to consciously connect with the quiet that lies within. Allow yourself to just be — relax your body, let go with your mind. The trick will be not to get caught in thought, but to stay fully present in the moment. You are not reaching for something. You are not creating anything. Nothing is being bestowed upon you. This is an invitation to the relaxed alertness of present moment awareness.
Before going to sleep, set an intention to wake 10 minutes early. When you awake in the morning, lay still, allow your attention to rest within your body. Find a comfortable position and do a scan of your physical body, take a moment to connect to your breath; you may wish to lay your hands over your heart.
As you breathe in, give rise to gratitude for this new day. As you breathe out, let go of any tension you find in your body. Relax, no story. Letting go of any thoughts occupying your conscious awareness. This is not a time to focus on your aches and pains or the worries of the coming day. This is time for you to be present to the natural stillness within. As your body settles, and your breath finds a natural ease, your mind will follow.
Next, take three conscious breaths, fully relaxed, fully present. Breathing in gratitude, breathing out relaxation, tension released. When you get to the third one, count backwards for three more. Let your breath breathe you.
When you feel complete, take one more deep breath, hold it for a moment and exhale completely with a big sigh. Thank yourself for taking this time for you. Then gently stretch your body before turning your attention to what is next in your day.
As you move into each new moment, walk through the world as a radiant source of inner peace and love and beauty. In truth, this is exactly who you are. It is who we are, individually and collectively. Please do not wait for inner peace to find you. Be still and nurture its potential. Allow this sense of well-being, even in its tiniest seed, to soothe you, to nourish you and to ultimately empower you.
From my heart to yours, thank you for your time and your attention. May you know inner peace, peace in your heart, peace in your world.