Do you ever find yourself wishing that the world would slow down? That you could press ‘pause’ and halt the frenetic pace of your day? December can be particularly challenging in this regard. At this time of year I often hear people say ‘I’m too busy to relax’. This month leans towards a lot of activity which can be both pleasurable and draining. Social gatherings, endless shopping and preparing for family reunions can be fun but can also leave us feeling somewhat overwhelmed or frazzled. If that’s the case for you right now, then you may find this blog helpful. For I would like to suggest that if your surroundings are too loud or too full, it is absolutely time to slow down. To turn gently inwards. Even briefly. This can be vital if you wish to not just keep up with the excessive activity but enjoy it.
There is a space beyond the realm of words, of sound, of activity where supreme peace resides. I like to call this place ‘spacious stillness’. Spacious stillness is where we can deeply experience the essence of what it means to be alive. On this earth, at this moment in time. To be aware of the interconnectivity of all beings who are moving, breathing and transitioning through their lives at the same time as us. Spacious stillness gives us the opportunity to experience the universal Presence of all existence. And to see it reflected back in ourselves, in one another and in our world at large.
Dropping into spacious stillness, into this place of Presence allows us to calm the vagaries of our mind and the intensity of our overwhelming emotions. In this way, we can transcend unwanted moments of hurt, fear, anger and insecurity that can easily surface when our nervous systems are lifted.
It is so important to regularly tune inwards and find a sense of stillness. This of course lies at the heart of many contemplative traditions including seated meditation practice which as neuroscientific evidence has revealed is hugely beneficial for body and mind. But what if sitting cross legged on a Yoga mat or on a meditation cushion just doesn’t feel accessible to you right now? I would like to suggest that whilst a regular Yoga or meditation practice is of course the optimum most wonderful gift to self, this spacious stillness can be accessed in a number of ways.
Sitting in a garden, watching the birds flit in and out of the trees, looking at a piece of art, listening to inspirational music or simply being in nature all allow us to truly connect with our surroundings and the beauty of this moment. Of being here right now. Holding silence. Breathing in. Breathing out. Being held in the centre of all things.
Stillness, oneness. A recentering, a coming home, an inner sense of belonging that is always there and can enhance our resilience to be there for ourselves and others. So this December, I would like to invite you to find a few moments each day to pause, take a breath and do whatever allows you to gently open up to the precious spacious stillness within you. In the words of Eckhart Tolle:
In the stillness of your presence…you look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.