Anti Quiet Culture
We live in a culture prejudiced against stillness, opposed to motionlessness. We live in an anti-quiet culture. We worship movement, activity, noise. Activity and noise grab our attention and make us feel alive. We do not usually equate stillness with progress and growth. And do not generally think there is much to be gained by being still. There does not seem to be much to learn from quietness or from waiting without stimuli- for our eyes, ears, mouths- what is there?
When was the last time you heard someone say, I’m really proud of my son. Yesterday, he sat in his room all day, alone, and deeply contemplated life?
Most parents would be worried. When is he going to get a job? We worship activity. Do something! Move! Say something! Are we afraid that if we remain still for more than a moment that we somehow court the Grim Reaper? We think, we’ve got a lot to do before we die, and maybe if we look busy enough alive enough-death will leave us alone.
Don’t get me wrong I’m one of the most action oriented people you will meet. But, before meditation my actions and goals were unconscious and a result of my generally futile attempts to deal with my suffering, even though I did not realize what I was doing. Now my actions and goals are conscious and the result of a deep stillness inside me that allows me to see more clearly what needs doing. To remain unattached to the outcome, and do whatever needs doing in a way I hope benefits those around me. To me… THIS is alive.
Gandhi once said of Western Culture, Here are people with everything except stillness. Stillness is not death. Stillness allows room for feeling, sensing, experiencing, knowing and awareness. Stillness creates space a sacred space in that we connect with the very life that we are. Stillness allows the development of the Witness, which as we have seen, is the doorway to happiness and inner peace.
This stillness is not a sensory experience in the way of most of us know it. It is deeper. It’s an awareness of centeredness.
When meditating I feel as though I’m in touch with my own humanity in the most metaphysical and profound sense. And I know what peace feels like.
Meditation is oil upon the upon the rushing waters of our high velocity lifestyles.
As T.S. Elliot wrote. I said to my soul, be still and wait… and the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
What we most desire is already within us. Our job is to be still and wait.