How Stillness is Expressed Physically
Over the next four blogs I will be exploring how stillness manifests in our different states of consciousness – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If, as the Psalmist explained, “Be still and know that I am God” has substance, then understanding the nature of stillness is paramount. Having a more detailed understanding means that we can create new neural pathways for adopting the sort of consciousness that has stillness become a reality. Many times we are told to ‘let go’ of things without knowing what will fill the void once we let go. And, as many of you know, if letting go was that easy we would have all done it years ago. In today’s blog I want to explore what stillness looks like when we free ourselves from the attachment to our bodies.
Physical consciousness is about how we relate to the physical/material world in which we live. This includes the state of our bodies (nutrition, exercise and sexuality for example), how we relate to our possessions (home and money), the planet (environment and nature) and death (ageing and disease). Fundamental to being in a state of stillness is awareness, the capacity to understand that we have bodies, but that we are not our bodies. That we are more than that. You may have had times where it appeared that you were almost a step a behind your body, and you could observe whatever it was that the body was doing, so instead of being caught up in the body and its experience, you were witnessing it.
I clearly remember a single car accident I had 20 years ago were I rolled my car several times after avoiding a kangaroo while I was travelling at 110kph. As the car began to flip time went into slow motion, and during the subsequent flips, it was if I was watching what was happening to me inside of the car. In that place of awareness, in spite of the chaos that was occurring in the physical world, I was experiencing stillness. Back in the 80’s I was fascinated reading Dr Moody’s book on near-death experiences. He recounted the stories of people who had died, and who were able to describe in detail the activities and conversations of the doctors and nurses performing emergency procedures as they attempted to ‘save’ the person, that included details which could only be seen from a removed vantage.
I travelled by train from Washington DC to Miami Florida back in the late 80’s, which was an overnight trip. I had a sleeper. I remember waking in the morning realising that I was having an out-of-body experience. I was aware that my body was near me and and that my consciousness was seperate to my body. I was also aware that if I was to attempt to move my finger, or any part of my body, that I would be back in the full awareness of my body. I lay there for a very long time aware of the absolute stillness that accompanied this experience. It was a blissful state, a state free from the burden of my body. When I finally did move my finger, the reunion of my consciousness and my body could be described as a ‘jolt’.
In the subsequent years I have spoken to many people who have described similar experiences. I am sure many of you have had out-of-body experiences and hopefully only a few of you have had to encounter near-death-experiences. Several clients of mine who had near-death experiences explained how they no longer feared death and were able to engage life with an almost care-free attitude. This came as a result of the understanding that they (their consciousness) was not limited to who they were physically. They knew that they were more than their bodies, more than their possessions, more than their existence on this planet. How would you be different if you knew that even though you had a body you were not your body, that you were more than that?
For most of these people, these experiences of being ‘the witness, the observer’ are limited to short windows of experience. I use them to help illustrate what a consciousness of stillness might look like. When stillness is a whole of life-choice it has far reaching effects. Evidence that someone has begun to adopt a life of stillness is the enhanced awareness of their physical environment. They become aware of how their physical state serves them. They notice how the quality of the food they eat impacts on their wellbeing, and begin to choose food and beverages that better serve them, as opposed to focusing on the food and beverages that don’t. Their engagement in exercise best serves sustained health, and physical intimacy and nurturing touch is both honouring and regular.
The way they relate to money and possessions will be free of worry, since there is no attachment. They trust Grace and Divine Flow. The whole notion that being engaged in their noble purpose naturally results in material needs being met, is fundamental to their understanding. Equally, this awareness allows stillness, where scarcity and fear of loss robs one of stillness.
The desire for stillness would also result in a celebration of the planet, its environs and all that it sustains. The soil, the air and the water would be sacred, and the ritual of aware engagement would feed the state of stillness. What we celebrate we generally treat with respect. In just the same way celebrating the feminine and womanhood results in respect and honour of women, a sustained celebration of nature would result in respect of the planet. When you are still, you are immersed in nature. You hear the call of the birds, you smell the roses and delight at their display. The majesty of the mountains raise you up, the waves of a wheat field mesmerise you. All the while inspiring gratitude and enriching the bliss in stillness.
There will be stillness in ageing. With ageing, the expansion of awareness that sees understanding become wisdom, results in stillness. This transition is typically the natural result of the maturity that emerges when one lives mindfully. Instead of a life, where the liminal space between an older person and the world sees a wall of separation both close in and get higher, the wall disappears. Instead of a cloistered life, the crone or the sage will be fully engaged in the world, using the wisdom they have gleaned to inspire younger people to seek lives filled with stillness. There is stillness in living your noble purpose.
And what of death? It would seem from the insights of those who have experienced an NDE (near death experience), that stillness or not stillness experienced in this physical reality becomes the context of one’s experience in whatever we experience after death. The consciousness that results in stillness is often referred to as Christ or Buddha Consciousness. This state of awareness impacts not only on how we engage life physically, it also changes our mental, emotional and spiritual consciousness. It is this transformation of consciousness that brings the individual into at state of ‘oneness’ with the Divine. And as the Psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.”
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks blog and our current conversation on Stillness. We invite you to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments section below.
This Weeks Video
Read More From This Series