IN THE STILLNESS
How can this be achieved?
And how can we attain and maintain this inner-state of consciousness in our everyday life without feeling overwhelmed by the rapid pace at which technology, new systems of thought, behaviour and values are sweeping in and appearing to take control of our personal life.
The foundation of our feeling of security, our understanding of what we perceive as our hard-won sense of basic values (the way we think or believe things should be), is being shaken leaving us sometimes quite bewildered, in danger of losing our inner-poise, and possibly leaving us with a genuine feeling of despair as to what the future may bring!
If we cannot change the outer world at this point in time, then the answer is obvious – the only course we have left is to turn our attention within – to the very heart of our own consciousness, and explore what it is within us that can keep us from losing our inner-balance, and going off the rails.
Mentally, it entails the conscious letting go of all the fluctuations of the mind. This means out-waiting all thoughts & feelings that arise at the time and remaining inwardly focused on holding to a state of inner quiet, steadiness, calmness, and peace. As Eckhart Tolle puts it – Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is, no matter what form it takes, you are still, you are at peace!
Do we believe that life has a purpose? or that it was all one big accident (as in the big bang theory)?
If we believe in life having a purpose, does it mean just waking, eating, sleeping, working, fulfilling our mundane everyday duties, being a good father, mother, husband, wife, living in the hope of finding some happiness in the accumulation of money and material things, or hoping to find love with that elusive soul-mate! Or, is there a deeper more intelligent purpose behind it all which as yet, we are incapable of understanding?
The other alternative – the “Big Bang” theory – that all life forms and consciousness are the result of one big accident, I find rather abhorrent and quite nihilistic in theory, because it annihilates the thought that life has any purpose at all!
Can we ever really understand life’s great mystery by developing our intellect or expanding our intuitive knowledge of life and the Universe? Is there a difference between rational thinking and Truth? For something to be regarded as a Truth or Reality, what quality would it need to have?
I believe that for a truth to be a Universal Truth or Principle, it must be constant & unchanging, & definitely not subject to the whims & changing belief systems of human beings!
My understanding is that intellectual reasoning can point us in the right direction, but the reality of our own beingness has to be experienced on a deeper more subtle level for us to appreciate what true inner-security, peace and lasting happiness really is! It should be an enormously uplifting experience!
This is a quote by one of the world’s greatest scientists & philosophers – Albert Einstein.
“There is no logical way to the discovery of Elemental Laws, there is only the way of Intuition, which is a ‘feeling’ for the order underlying the appearance”!
Intuition is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is its faithful servant!
We have created a society that honours the servant, and has forgotten the gift!
Keeping an open mind, together with a strong belief in something far more universally intelligent and loving than ourselves, appears to be the only way we can rise above our normal rational thinking, and personal egocentric views and open ourselves up to this Sacred Gift of Intuition!
The development of faith, courage, patience, caring, honesty, self-control, and a sincere desire to understand the truth of our beingness, all seem necessary prerequisites to attaining this feeling of inner-security, peace, contentment, and inner-poise.
Of these, Faith is the greatest, because without it, we are weak. Faith in Action is Trust. Our inner strength is determined by the degree of faith or ‘inner knowing’ we feel within ourselves & maybe a higher power.
An analogy that comes to mind goes like this:
On life’s journey, we come to the river of emotion. This river runs swiftly, and is full of rapids and whirlpools. Moored nearby is the ‘boat of intellect’ which we need to row across the river of emotion which is fast flowing, negotiating all its rapids and whirlpools to gain access to the other side which is called the land of intuition – where we can then walk on, armed with courage and a strengthened inner-faith in a higher, more intelligent, powerful, and loving force! (Author & writer Christmas Humphries)
This type of Faith goes deeper than just blind belief or hope in something, because it is based upon an ‘inner-knowing’ or ‘feeling for’ certain Truths or Principles which are timeless!
Faith is developed slowly – firstly with a child-like belief in our parents, teachers, then ourselves, and after many of life’s hard-won battles, we begin to feel a certain self-confidence that the world is a safer place than we had previously envisioned, realising we have that inner strength and guidance to draw upon when necessary!
I had a break-through in meditation one morning in my early twenties.
A vision of a vast ocean came to me, which translated itself into “The Ocean of Life” with a Cork floating on its surface. A voice from within said – You are the Cork, that is your Spirit.
Then I saw the waves build up and toss the Cork around, splashing it, but it didn’t sink!
Then a hand came up from the bottom of the ocean, took hold of the Cork and pulled it down to the bottom of the ocean, then let it go, allowing it to quickly rise to the surface again.
A voice then said – This is your Spirit, nothing in the world can sink it!
(From that experience, I learned that one good picture which one could relate to, was worth a few thousand words!)
How many times in the past have we allowed thoughts of fear, self-doubt, self-pity, over self-indulgence, frustration, irritation, annoyance and procrastination or health issues to dominate our consciousness and our lives?
Of course at the time, we had forgotten that these attitudes are created by us, and having no real existence of themselves, can only dominate us when we forget the inner-bouyancy of our own Soul, or human Spirit!
Many of the great teachers, philosophers and saints have referred to a higher-self or higher intuition within us which both lovingly and intelligently guides our lives when we ask for help with full faith and sincerity.
If we continually draw on our faith in all situations, a powerful momentum develops which of itself stays with us through each and every day of our busy lives.
So, how do we attain this state amidst going about our normal everyday living?
One effective way, is through meditation, a practical eastern technique which has been taught for centuries.
(There are a number of meditation techniques using affirmations, visualization, listening, concentration on the breath, to name a few).
The act of meditation teaches us to work from within ourselves to create an atmosphere of inner stillness, whilst observing in a detached way, the movement of our thoughts, feelings, and physical body activity that attempt to distract our attention!
If we can maintain this state for a reasonable length of time without allowing ourselves to be drawn into internal verbalising about anything which may present itself to our focused attention, we will notice that these disturbances begin to subside until we reach a state of
wordless – attention which may surprise us!
All we really need to do is practise standing back and out-waiting these distractions. Through persistent practise, we will eventually experience a profound truth – that mind or intellect, is but a tool of our real consciousness and higher self which is always ever-present and aware in the background & not caught up in ‘time – space thinking’!
The fact that we can stand at “the pivot point of the pendulum” and watch the movement of the thoughts and feelings which flow back and forth in cycles, helps us to realise that there is a special place of stillness within us to which we can turn, by simply being aware of our true consciousness, and living in it!
We need to be inwardly still & calm to connect with our deeper-self; to do this we have to open ourselves to a level beyond that of the physical through faith or belief! Then apply it in our everyday lives, remembering that faith without works is dead!
In the normal course of our traditional education, has anyone ever taught us this? The answer is simply – no!
Now this all sounds easy, but there are some initial stumbling blocks which we have to overcome.
Firstly, because we have allowed our mind, to run unchecked – thinking and emoting at will with little or no control and focused direction from us, we will find that it becomes like a stubborn mule when we decide to tame it and give it some creative direction! Over the past few years it has developed a powerful momentum of its own which takes some determined self-control.
Secondly, we may feel that if we try to be detached from our thoughts and feelings, that we risk becoming cold, indifferent or de-sensitised towards our loved ones, and life itself!
Be assured that this is not the case, in fact the reverse is true!
Once our consciousness is freed from being held-down by all the attachments and fears we hold in our personal ego, we develop a greater capacity for unconditional loving, caring and giving of ourselves.
Thirdly, we do not like change, and it is our resistance to change that causes a lot of our inner-tension.
Remember, it is not being suggested that we give up our positive/creative thoughts and feelings – only the negative, restrictive ones that are limiting our consciousness. ( i.e. self-pity, feeling fearful, angry, irritated or depressed – deplete one’s energy, whereas positive feelings such as sending out thoughts of Goodwill to the world, helping others, being useful, all help us develop an enthusiasm for life, stimulate our physical body and whole psyche, and make us feel life is worthwhile!
If we are truly honest with ourselves, the chance of us being unbiased in our judgement of ourselves, others, and life itself will be greatly enhanced! So, being able to stand aside from our own personal ego, which has previously prevented us from perceiving reality as it truly is, will enable us to express ourselves more naturally – in unrestricted caring for those we love, and all forms of life! Others who have achieved this state of awareness, testify that they feel an overall kinship, or oneness with everything around them!
All of the greatest teachers, philosophers and thinkers that humanity has produced agree on this one point – that man’s personal ego, is the greatest stumbling block to learning and his development as a more humane, creative being!
(However, is it wise to completely kill off our personal ego? Wouldn’t it deprive us of the driving force necessary in business and getting things done? Or can we keep working through this ego, recognizing it as a necessary lesser part of ourselves which relates us to this outer world, and work to transform it into a more creative, caring tool until it is free of fear, attachment, selfishness and greed)!
The word Ego can have different meanings – (personal ego or Spiritual Ego!)
Some Easterners put it this way – they say there are 5 obstacles to the attainment of wisdom! These are: ignorance, the ego-sense, desire (attachment), aversion and the clinging to life!
So, not understanding the Source which created us, or our connection with it , we are obviously in state of Spiritual ignorance! This causes us to think that this “I” – which I call “Me” is isolated from its Source, because I see great differences between myself and others. This is the great illusion caused by the development of the personal ego or ego-sense). As we allow this personalised ego sense to grow through life experiences, desires begin to manifest – attaching us even more to the illusion that we need these things, and whenever our desires are thwarted, we feel an aversion (fear of loss, or dislike), and eventually the greatest of all fears, the fear of death – so naturally, our reaction to that is also predictable – we want to cling to life for dear life, because we are afraid that death means oblivion!
I have found in my own studies, in-depth meditation, and Soul-searching, that there are two meanings to the word “I”. In its purest form, this statement means my Spirit, but said in the usual sense refers to my personal ego. The same word but having two very diverse meanings! If we take this line of thought further, and state the words “I” or “I AM”, it is really a statement of that which we consider our true identity – confirming the truth that we exist in the now! However, if we say “I AM – this or that”, we begin to personalise or identify with the mental image we have created! We can see then how subtle the interpretation can be! The words “I AM” are probably the most powerful statement a human being can make if stated with an awareness of its Spiritual meaning!
We seem to have this fascination for labelling everything. I am this, or I am that!
i.e. I am an Australian, I am Chinese, I am Black, I am White, I am a Catholic, I am Jewish,
I am a Father, I am a Mother, or some negative labels such as – I am a no-hoper, I am a failure, I am no good to anyone! Can you see now, how we so easily begin to identify with the label we have placed upon ourselves, which is our own idea of reality, and the way we think things are, or should be! This is ego identification. The personal ego loves labelling itself. It seems that it needs to keep bolstering its image of itself for its own survival, and personal kudos, which in itself, is an admission of insecurity. Whereas, the real “I” which we are, has been forgotten.
Here is a Metaphor: Think of the Sun which is always present in our world, and the clouds which are eternally passing below it.
The real “I” of us, the light of our own Soul-Consciousness, is eternally shining from within us. The clouds, are our personal ego identifications, which come and go in cycles, which we allow to affect us mentally, emotionally and physically. Whereas, our Soul-Consciousness is unchanging and ever-present!
A simple formula which I have found helpful, is “Easeful, Peaceful, and Useful”!
Meaning – be Easeful in Body, Peaceful in Mind, and Useful in our everyday lives.
We call ourselves Human Beings: When did the name ‘Human’ come into our use?
The word Human is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘Hu’ meaning “Of The Spirit” and “Manas” meaning Mind! This indicates that a Human Being is a Spirit, Thinking Being!
A quote from “The Desiderata”:
“Go quietly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there is in Silence”.
Maybe it could have added “What ’empowerment’ there is in Silence as well”!
(Comments are always welcome)