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Photo by Bert Man

“Notice the spaciousness at the very center of your being. As you rest in awareness, you connect with your authentic self. The effort of seeking dissipates, and you are unbounded sacred space, infinite awareness, and genuine warmth — you are the inner refuge. The inner sacred space is so simple and close that if we search for it, we cannot find it. But it is always there for you, the source of all the elemental qualities you need. As the inner refuge, you are whole and complete in each moment.”

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, The True Source of Healing

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You are an infinite and eternal silent Presence of pure consciousness. You exist in this moment and no other. There is no past or future. Your mind is silent. You are fully present with what is here. You are totally immersed in the moment of now. It is impersonal.”

— Leonard Jacobson

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When we wake up to this simple and amazing fact that stillness underpins all reality and gently and with kindness go about our daily business, we calmly take stock and begin to understand what needs to be done. We begin to see that that which we think is us, is in fact only a minuscule part of the whole. Instead of seeing the world only in relation and separation to ourselves, we begin to experience the world around us as a whole and as our home. Once this realization manifests in our daily life, we begin to act in a way which benefits the whole. By asking “how can I serve?” we benefit ourselves because we are part of the vast reservoir we are serving.

— Jurgen Ziewe

Our time of upheaval gets more intense by the day. We have a president who knows how to stay in the headlines. He throws the bait in the water and we bite. We’re hooked. We’re constantly reacting. Peace seems far away, a distant memory.

Stillness? Not a chance. It’s not as if we ever knew the kind of stillness that these writers are discussing. Our world is crammed to overflowing with distractions. Our minds are addicted to a noisy world. The world we live in obliges with a ceaseless flow of words, images, concepts and sound and fury. We’re lucky if we even hear about inner stillness.

Going inward, the first thing you notice is your mental traffic jam of warmed over judgements and conclusions. Language fills the space between our ears, affecting our blood pressure and digestion without us noticing what’s bothering us. Unresolved conflicts live just below the surface and unsurprisingly cause physical breakdown.

We don’t know how to stay clear. Inner peace is a pipe dream.

People who take that dream seriously and who devote themselves to realizing it are unusual, especially in our outer-directed society. It seems obvious that if humans are to avoid mass suicide, we’ll have to become aquainted with the source of peace that lives within. Running away from stillness will have to stop. We can never really escape it. It is always there.

We don’t want to know that we are an ephemeral wave in a great ocean. We make up comforting stories about a sublime afterlife because we want to hang on to our personal incarnation and its story. Letting go of our personas and possessions is necessary if we are to become still. Not until then do we feel safe.

We will be divested of our personal life with all its attachments sooner or later. Sooner is better because only then will we have the full human experience of being alive. Being alive means being alive to all the joys and suffering any human life entails.

That kind of aliveness is exactly why we distract ourselves. We don’t want to be so sensitive. We think to avoid pain by dulling ourselves. I don’t think the human race can continue on that path. The time has finally come to choose stillness.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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