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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stillness

STILLNESS by Charles Hogg

Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.

These are the words of Herman Hesse and perhaps describe the aspirations
of so many of us today. We feel a victim of a merciless routine of doing
where there seems no escape. Finding a stillness in my inner sanctuary
sounds so attractive; a place where I can really be me and take away all
the pressure from trying to be something and look good; a place where I
don't have to impress; a place where I can strip away all the collected
baggage and feel the authentic me; a place where I never feel "on
guard". This Sanctuary is like coming home to where I really belong.

As sweet as this place sounds we live in a world of speed, noise, and
busyness. We wake in the morning and turn on the TV. We drive to work
with the radio. We sit in front of little screens all day and finally
return to the TV again. The mind is under a constant bombardment with
the noise of information. We know so much information but how much is
real wisdom. But this is just the outer noise. What about the inner
noise; the constant self talk to make sense of what is happening around
me and in me; the fears, the insecurities, the inner critic. It is a
chronic chatter that does not even stop when we put our head on the pillow.

On the one hand the noise is sending us crazy. We crave stillness,
silence, quiet, peace...........but we fear it also!

The noise has a purpose. The speed has a purpose. The busyness has a
purpose. It is a form of denial and avoidance. It helps us not look too
deep to see what is really going on. Who am I really? The stillness
becomes a mirror into my inner world. The inner voice of truth can be
heard. For so many of us time is calling us to journey to this sanctuary
of stillness.

But is finding this sanctuary of stillness easy? When I look inside
there often seems to be a jungle of unprocessed thoughts and feelings.
It can be quite daunting, so I am tempted to return to my old forms of
denial by losing myself in busyness and work and perhaps hope it will
all go away. But if I persevere to find my sanctuary I begin to see
three "I"s or personalities vying for power and control inside me. Two
of them seem to be increasing the noise but one is the guide to my
sanctuary of stillness.

The first "I" is the one that presents a façade, an image to the world.
This "I" can be very clever and can fool most. It is so clever it can
even fool me because sometimes I start to feel it is me. This is the ego
façade I build up to protect my vulnerable self. It is the "I" of
superiority that always compares with others and thinks my understanding
is the right understanding, I am right. This "I" will easily criticise
and find fault in others and craves attention and praise. But when it
seeps into my feelings it is then I know when this "I" is ruling me
inside. When ever I feel insulted, disrespected, under valued, easily
hurt, and over sensitive, know this "I" of arrogance is ruling me. I
have lost my inner sovereignty. The emptier I feel the more I build this
mask. The noise if this "I" prevents me from finding me stillness

The second "I" is the vulnerable "I". Behind the mask, the façade lies a
vulnerable and fragile self, fearful of being exposed. This "I" can
chant the mantra, I am not good enough, others are better than me,
others don't want me, others don't love me. This "I" is so fearful of
rejection. This is the "I:" of lack of self respect. Once again it is
when the power of this "I" seeps into my feelings then I know it is
ruling me.I can feel hopeless, inadequate, unworthy and inferior. This I
distorts my whole out look on life. It becomes a filter through which I
see everything and I am convinced I am seeing reality. But in fact I am
being deceived by this false identity I have built up. The noise if this
"I" also drowns out my sanctuary of stillness.

So what happens? We swing between the highs of the "I" of arrogance and
the lows of the "I" of lack of self respect. The noise is so constant I
wonder if stillness can really exist.

The path to my inner sanctuary is to connect with the original "I" or my
permanent identity. When I connect and taste the feelings of my
permanent identity, it is like coming home to where I really belong. I
am a soul, I adopt a body and work through it. When I forget myself and
think I am my body, this is when the games of ups and downs, fluctuating
between ego and lack of self respect begins. The mind becomes
over-active and the chronic mental chatter never stops. Becoming soul
conscious is the middle path. Rather than swinging from the ego "highs"
and the lack of self respect "lows" I experience the stillness of my
eternal self the soul.

The soul is a point of life energy residing in the middle of the brain,
behind the forehead. When I realise the true self and experience it,
automatically I experience peace. Eighty percent of Australians believe
they are something more than a body but we are not sure what. Meditation
is converting the belief into an experience. This is the wisdom we need
to find again: not just to know and believe but experience the
permanent self. The natural by product of experiencing myself as the
soul is a deep and stable feeling of peace and stillness. It becomes my
natural state not a fleeting experience. The inner sanctuary is not a
seemingly inaccessible dream but something I can access in a thought.

This relationship with my original self as a soul is the first
relationship of life. If this relationship is dysfunctional it pollutes
everything and robs me of my stillness. When it is re-established it
will automatically begin to create the stillness I seek.

Once the connection with my inner self is established I can take another
step toward a deeper stillness, to explore the one relationship that is
permanent, the relationship with the divine. It is true love that will
take me into the heart of stillness.

It seems the mind is on a constant search. It is the search for love but
not an ordinary love, a love that quenches the thirst at the core of my
being. Until the mind tastes such a quality of love it can never rest.
The agitated mind never stops its search. This love is the first need or
desire of the human soul and when it is not found, a thousand other
desires emerge to compensate the first need of life, to be truly loved.
We search for this love in our family and relationships but there is a
huge dilemma; that none of these relationships are permanent. Whether it
is change, conflict, separation or death the object of my love goes. I
cannot find true stillness till I taste this love. This love is the
union of I the soul with the divine, the supreme soul. Through the eye
of the mind a see a radiant jewel of light and with the power of pure
thought I connect. The is not just a philosophical concept but a real
relationship with another soul but a pure soul, the ocean of love. When
I taste this love the relentless searching of the mind stops and it
stills naturally. A stillness filled with the feelings of belonging, the
feelings of a love lost but now found, the feelings of coming home to my
natural inner sanctuary. There is such a relief in finding this stillness.

When I resonate with the supreme I experience the richness of this
stillness. The mind is still active but now cool. The self doubt, the
questioning, the fighting, the restlessness stops and a pure flow of
elevated thought takes over that soothes and calms. The stillness of the
mind is not an absence of thought. It is an absence of negative
disturbing thought. In this stillness there is peace; there is a deep
understanding and clarity; I can hear the sound of my truth and I feel
the power to apply it in my life.

This relationship of soul and supreme soul is at the heart of the
meditation process.