Go towards the stillness, beloved
For centuries wisdom holders, sages, gurus, and teachers from virtually all spiritual traditions have been inviting humans to get still and listen to the silence within. In one form or another, the mystical element of spirituality asks us to turn off our thoughts, let silence permeate our minds, and be fully present in this moment.
But as anyone who has tried to do this can tell you, it isn’t so easy—especially in today’s fast-paced, dizzying digital-speed world.
The truth is that this stillness inside of you—or what is often called emptiness in other spiritual traditions and even by some scientists—is the source of your inner fire. This thesis may seem contradictory to those of us living in a Western society that often equates action with progress, but this has long been considered a core spiritual truth in shamanic teachings, Eastern religions, and Buddhist philosophy. For example, in the sacred Buddhist text the Heart Sutra, we are told, “Form itself is emptiness: emptiness itself is form.” In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu writes that the Tao itself originated in emptiness. Returning to the Western world, the noted scientist and Nobel Prize–winner Albert Einstein agrees, writing “Everything is made of emptiness and form is condensed emptiness.”
What they refer to as emptiness, I am calling stillness. These words point to the same thing: the idea that there is an inexpressible still void inside all of us that is the core of our power, our energy. ~ From my upcoming book Awaken Your Inner Fire, Lesson 3
The antidote to the billion of distractions, endless to do lists, and the everyday chaos that scatter your mind and steals your focus lies in your own mind. Your mind can be friend or foe; for most of us it tends more towards foe. To make your mind your friend you must train it to get still, just like you would train a little puppy to pay attention. At first your puppy mind will go all over the place, but eventually it will learn to get still and focused when you ask it to.
How do you quiet your mind? Here are some suggestions:
• Have a conversation with your mind and let it know you are firing your inner critic
• In all the in-between places in your life move towards stillness: in line, walking between rooms, driving your car
• Keep gently and firmly moving your attention away from your thoughts and towards this present moment. (puppy!)
• Create focus challenges for yourself: Devote 20 or 30 minutes at a time to one task. Go!
Quieting the mind is a commitment to redirect your focus from thinking to feeling, past or future to the present, confusion to clarity. Over and over and over again. In a world of distraction this is a warrior task for sure. You have to be in for the long haul, because retraining your “puppy” mind to a mature, stable, happily obedient “dog” mind takes fortitude!
Step back and witness your mind. Watch your thoughts. Learn about the trails and familiar pathways your mind wanders down. Keep reminding yourself that you are not your thoughts. Stay determined to make your mind your ally.
Share your insights in the comments below and/or on our new Inner Fire Tribe close FaceBook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/innerfiretribe/
In the coming days I’ll be sharing more chapter excerpts from the new book and insights on how to awaken your inner fire. Let’s deepen our stillness and let it permeate calm and presence in everything we do!