Episode 97. The key to Everything is Stillness. Brought to you by the universal law of balance. There is a book at the end of this post.
Have you ever found yourself walking along a busy street filled with buses cars and people and suddenly realise that you are incredibly happy for no reason at all. People are looking at you but you just don’t even realise that there is a glowing smile on your face, your posture is beautiful, and there is some sort of a glow about you that was not there before. The space we call stillness.
Throughout time mystics have ventured to the mountains to find stillness. Each one of them has eventually returned from the mountains into the reality of life to become either a teacher or a life coach. Whatever they do, they cannot stay in the mountains. It is like going to find something that was lost and then bring it back to where it belongs. This thing that mistakes go looking for, and sometimes ordinary people who become life coaches, is stillness.
To teach something that was found by going to the mountains and sitting high above the ground in a rarefied atmosphere and therefore was achieved for free without instruction book becomes a life journey. It is the equivalent to knowing how to make a cake, and then having to reverse engineer what was in that cake in order to help other people make the same cake.
But that doesn’t stop us trying. The challenge is that when we use a single word such as stillness, everybody applies their lens to it and gives it their own meaning and therefore they already create a cake which may completely not be the same thing as we are trying to share. In the case of stillness many people think that it is about sitting in the garden, legs crossed and eyes closed and daydreaming or meditating in some form of out of body experience. But it is far far from this.
My neighbour is a very famous and highly awarded stage performer. She is absolutely amazing and my very close friend. From time to time I would coach her through her life challenges and in that coaching process that amazingness would be gone. She would be in those coaching sessions such a human being that had very little stillness. From time to time I got tickets to her shows and I would go and see her perform a one woman two hour stand-up performance and hold an audience mesmerised as she morphed through 20 or 30 characters on stage. And there she would have absolute stillness. I have another friend who I occasionally coach who is an aerobatic pilot who also coaches athletes in sport psychology especially those in the Olympic shooting and archery team. When we meet for a coffee as friends there is very little stillness in him, but when I meet him in a coaching environment and he is coaching somebody, stillness surrounds him and fills the entire forest where he is coaching. So stillness seems to be a switch.
Certainly we can observe those who don’t have it don’t have the switch. And those who do have it have some of it even when the switch is off. My stage performing friend has a powerful presence even when she is not on stage. My coaching aerobatics pilot friend has a powerful presence even when he is not flying or coaching athletes. And so it becomes obvious that when you learn the art of stillness it’s somehow impacts your entire DNA. Although, I meet many people who have spent a massive number of their life hours meditating I very rarely see this residual we are talking about from stillness. That is not to say it doesn’t exist but I do believe that the process of meditation is an antiquated process for getting to this incredibly high state of being for those who want to perform in the world at a very global level.
I think the key to this stillness is the ability to handle pain. When the human beings start to suffer, the human being typically wants to run away from it. Meditation and yoga is quite often escape from suffering. And when we tried to escape from something we simply run straight into it. Stillness is the ability to sit in the suffering without reacting. If you can imagine the world champion Formula One race car driver, who is sitting on the front row of the grid, racing at 300 km/h, being challenged for their winning position, you might start to begin to understand suffering and how the ability not to react to it can be described as this sacred gift from the mountains that mystics go looking for. If you can imagine the general manager or the CEO of a business who is threatened by competitive forces not reacting, but sitting in analytical silence, you will experience stillness also. And, as in the case of my stage performing friend, if you can imagine dancing in front of thousands of people why are you sing and act, and having to do the same stage act for nearly 9 months six times a week, and keep your energy fully present throughout the whole performance, you will see the training ground for stillness.