Once you finally stop for a moment—or life stops you—you realize that your monkey mind has been very busy and has kept you stuck on the “hamster wheel”. Borrowing from John Kabat Zinn, many of our thoughts are based on fear—“fear that you are not good enough”, “that bad things will happen”, “that good things won’t last”, “that you will not get your way”, “that other people might hurt you”, and so on. It is no wonder that stillness evades us until there is a break in the constant vortex of confusion. Once we do experience this opening, speaking for myself, it is vital to continuously use my stillness practice to remind myself of this wonderful gift of space, balance, and peace. Explore your pathways to stillness.
I am spending a few days at one of my favorite stillness refuges—A Trappist monastery in northern New Brunswick. It is such a gift of peace and a place to rest my body and allow my spirit to be renewed. When I arrive here I literally and symbolically put my car keys and my wallet in the desk drawer. I go for walks on the trails in the woods, and I sleep a lot. There is no expectation to do anything in particular. However, I also rise at 3:30 in the morning to attend the meditation and prayer session in the chapel. It is a magical experience of comforting stillness— in the silence, chanting, and companionship. My tensions and challenges become lighter. Stillness works!
If we had a choice, I suspect that hardly anyone would choose to suffer. Our lives are regularly subjected to unwanted changes—physical, emotional and even spiritual. The story of our life changes meaning— often without any warning. Yes, there are also many wonderful changes, but these do not cause us any problem, unless we hang on to them if and when they do change. However, it is worth embracing the idea that the universe is doing things for us and not to us. What we take to be painful experiences very often result in new meaning in our lives, more peace, and less personal baggage. The key to this new direction in your journey to more life is simple but takes practice—let go, accept, allow and follow.
A good café offers an atmosphere that is friendly, welcoming, and non-judgemental. You can sit quietly by yourself and read —or just watch and listen to what is going on around you. It offers the chance to stop and become present—thus creating a space for stillness to emerge. I find this stillness environment especially helpful at times of loneliness when I am travelling alone. Then there is the coffee experience itself. For me a good latte engages all the senses and offers relaxation and comfort—a warm cup, the wonderful scent, the latte art and texture, the sound of the barista pulling shots, and the magic taste to be lingered over.
Pathways to Stillness Blog
My Blog is about how you can discover your own Pathways to Stillness, and why that is so valuable to your life. We will explore what it means to lose and regain our sense of “our story” in the midst and aftermath of loss—negative beliefs about aging and how we can make them more positive, and the many benefits reaped by creating a refuge of stillness within.