Just as there is a time for action, there is also a time for stillness. Being in the time of waiting patiently can be uncomfortable for some of us. We see this in yoga a lot- students come to class to do the postures, but some will always leave before the quiet, resting period of meditation at the end of class. In our day-to-day lives, many of us never really become still. The time when we rest or unwind is often spent “zoned out” in front of the television. What is the problem with stillness?
The way that I experience it, there are two internal voices who show up when I am in stillness. One is my inner critic. Those thoughts pipe up with negative commentary about whatever event they can grasp on to. I might replay a conversation from earlier in the day, and beat myself up for not saying things differently. Or, I might think of a time when I did something really embarrassing in the past and let that feeling wash over me again, feeling like such an idiot. Now, over time I have learned that I can send this voice away when it starts up. I bring my thoughts back to the present, knowing that everything from the past went exactly as it needed to in order to bring me to this present moment. I begin to think of all the beautiful blessings in my life, and how grateful I am to have them. Suddenly, I am feeling much better than I was just a few minutes before!
The other voice that comes up in stillness is the voice of my Divine Self. Oh, she can be subtle, but she is also quite persistent! Back when I was ignoring her on a regular basis, I couldn’t be still for too long or she would start to chime in: “This job isn’t right for you. This relationship is destroying you. This friend isn’t good for you. Your heart is hurting. Why are you ignoring it? Why aren’t you listening?” And so on… If I stayed busy all of the time, that I never had to stop and listen to her. And so I did just that, for as long as I was able. When I finally got still, by force of a series of major events in my life, I realized that I WANTED to hear her voice again. I had to start digging through all of the dirt that I had buried her under, listening for the whisper to know if I was digging in the right direction. Since then, I am slowly rebuilding my connection to my Divine Self. The good news is that she doesn’t give up easily. I beat her down for 30 years, and yet she is still here.
I think many of us experience this in our lives. And so I would ask you- Can you sit in stillness? Can you just notice what comes up for you? You may need to release some negative thinking, but you may also connect with the deeper wisdom that is within.