FOUR FUNCTIONAL PURPOSES OF MOVING INTO STILLNESS
Why bother continuing to cultivate stillness and reduced thinking through meditation? It’s useful to have some concrete reasons other than ‘it feels good’, although this is not a bad reason in and of itself! Knowing the four reasons below helps us to persist with our practice, and be able to clearly see the benefits as they start to arise.
- Our quality of thinking improves – By cultivating stillness we reduce the amount of thoughts in our mind. As the quantity of thoughts reduces, the quality of thoughts tends to increase. Because our mind feels less rushed, we activate our natural intelligence and tend to think more positively, more reflectively, and more rationally.
- We become much more resilient to stress – Imagine holding a bottle of water in front of you without putting it down. For 5minutes no problem, 10minutes your feeling it, 30minutes you are uncomfortable, one hour you might be in pain. If, however you were able to put the bottle of water down for 30seconds once every 5minutes, then you could actually hold that bottle of water out in front of you almost indefinitely, with minimal discomfort. It’s the same with our mental and emotional stress; it is not that the burden in itself overwhelmingly heavy, but because we never put it down it tires us out and feels unbearable. Stilling the mind and putting down our stressful thoughts is like putting down the bottle of water. It enables us to keep on bearing the weight of our stress FAR more easily by regularly putting it down!
- We activate out intuitive and unconscious processing capabilities – When you temporarily reduce your everyday mind and thinking by moving towards stillness, you activate the natural unconscious and intuitive processing faculties of your mind. This enables your mind to sift through information, move towards balance and come up with creative ideas without you having to try hard at all. You learn to rest your mind and let it work by itself to come up with useful insights and information that we can use in our life.
- We access the deeper self – Behind the everyday thinking mind there is the experience of consciousness itself; that which observes and is aware of the movements of our mind. This ‘observer’ is what I mean by the ‘deeper self’. It remains unchanged and constant even as our thoughts and experiences continually change. By dropping into stillness, we access this deeper, observing self. We can begin to identify with it, and use it as a point of stability, constancy and calm even as the events of our life twist and turn with fortune. Carl Jung called this deeper level of consciousness simply ‘the Self’, with our everyday thoughts, habits and patterns of action being ‘the ego’. In moments of crisis when the ego ‘falls apart’, people sometimes become aware of ‘the Self’. Dropping into stillness gives us regular access to ‘the Self’, and the support it can offer us.
By Toby Ouvry, www.tobyouvry.com, Contributor of //LIVE SIMPLY//