Attempting to move into stillness…

When we were relaxing in Viparita Karani near the end of our yoga class last night, the teacher read the passage below to us from Erich Schiffman’s book “Moving into Stillness”.  As I listened, I actually found it funny that she was reading this passage and I was there in that class at that moment.  This comes at an interesting time, especially after the last post about regrets and after a conversation I had with Thais yesterday a couple hours before the class.  She mentioned to me that I am supposed to be in the place that I am in right now… and that I need to open up to it for it to become more positive.  I am struggling with the “I am supposed to be here right now” part, as I find it a little unsettling that this is where I’m supposed to be (without saying too much, let’s just say I don’t want to be where I am now).  The passage came at an interesting time and I am pondering both what Thais said and the information in Erich’s writing… I’m not totally on board yet, but I am trying to see it in a different light.  I’m hoping this works… 🙂  ॐ  (The passage is a little long, but it is definitely worth reading if you don’t have the book)

You imagine a spinning top. Stillness is like a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. It appears this way not because it isn’t moving, but because it’s spinning at full speed. Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in – when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing.

For most of us, however, most of the time, our lives do not resemble a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. Our lives are more like a top in a somewhat wild, erratic, and chaotic spin, we know we’re alive because at least we’re still spinning, but we are not quite perfectly centered, and we are not spinning anywhere near full speed. We don’t have as much energy as we’d like, we are not experiencing as much aliveness as we might, nor are we experiencing the peace of stillness or the joy of being.

Stillness, therefore, is a higher energy state than what we’re used to. This is because we are rarely wholehearted, or unconflicted, about anything. When you are not wholehearted, when you’d rather be someplace other than where you are, parts of you shut down and begin not to participate. Your energy circulation becomes constricted, and the creative life force is unable to flow through you unimpeded. Your energy flow, the amount of life force flowing through you, begins to diminish. The source of the energy does not diminish, but the amount that flows through you does. This leads to ill health, low energy, lowered vitality, lack of enthusiasm, depression, frustration, unhappiness, and suffering. None of this feels good.

When you are wholehearted about something, however, when you are where you want to be and are participating fully in the moment you are in – sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes mellow – you will experience a new sense of aliveness. You will experience a surge of energy, renewed vigor. This is not because there is actually an increase in energy, but because you are not constricting it quite so much. There is now a better energy flow. There is less conflict, less friction, less not wanting to be where you are, and therefore – for you – there will be the experience of more energy.”     

What do you think of this passage?  Does it speak to where you are at right now?

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3 thoughts on “Attempting to move into stillness…

  1. YES YES YES see thats what im talking about!! In the recording i sent you today Tara Brach talks about a research that shows that people experience greater happiness being in the present rather than day dreaming about the future. as much as its unsettling to accept where you are, it is only through acceptance that we can find a door to somewhere else. as counter intuitive as it may sound, we only move forward when we’re content where we are. love you hunny and sounds like a great yoga class!!

  2. Yes! It’s speaking to me right now. I really want to advance my career and practice, but I am not being patient with myself, or confident that I can make these changes.

    “When you are wholehearted about something, however, when you are where you want to be and are participating fully in the moment you are in – sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes mellow – you will experience a new sense of aliveness” I felt that way during my yoga training away from everyone at a remote location. I also feel that way when I am traveling and learning about new cultures. Now, the challenge is to cultivate this wholeheartedness in my everyday life.

    I am more commonly described as “you’d rather be someplace other than where you are, parts of you shut down and begin not to participate” The idea is to shift this mentality to appreciating the present, and be here, even though that here and now was not my expectation (of illusion).

    Deep stuff…. like Thais said, it’s important to start with noticing the mind patterns, and cultivating acceptance… and gratitude…

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