Let’s pretend the Still Point is a place, a dot on the map of your consciousness. Do you know where it is? Do you have any roads leading to it? Or is it a tiny pinprick, lost in a sea of busyness, drifting about with no anchor, far from shore?
In today’s busy world, it’s easy to lose our connection to the Still Point, and the further we get from it, the less it even occurs to us that we might need to visit it – because, after all, we have THINGS TO THINK ABOUT! THINGS TO DO!
When I hear people say they have tried to meditate, but it is just too hard, I know they have forgotten about (or maybe never knew) the inestimable and necessary beauty of the Still Point.
What is the Still Point?
Each of us will describe it differently, but here is what it is for me –
It is moment in time when I let go of my need to be absorbed in my thoughts, when I step back and simply observe them floating by like ripples in a stream.
I feel my body sink into the chair, my spine relax, the heaviness of my hands on my lap.
My breathing becomes deeper and smoother, and I am aware of the sound of my breathing in and breathing out.
Gradually (and the amount of time this takes can vary from a few minutes to half an hour), I am able to let go of my stream of thoughts. I become aware of the sounds in the room, of my body in the chair, of the PRESENT MOMENT.
I may see some colors or lights or other visual effects. This does not always happen but when it does I welcome it. I may also feel a warm tingling all over my body.
Sensations come and go. Thoughts come and go. Moments of complete peace come and go. Moments of ecstasy come and go. Nothing lasts. Nothing needs to last. I am part of the larger stream, letting it carry me and remind me that I am always part of it.
Eventually I return from the Still Point.
I drink a big glass of water and make a few notes about my visit. When I am finished, I leave my journal on the small round glass table next to my large overstuffed deep red chair. I fold my tattered and much beloved brown shawl and place it over the arm of the chair, put my shoes on, and walk back into my busy life, with the memory of where I have been to enrich and sustain my everyday world.
Postscript: A Metaphor about the Still Point from Inside Our Magnificent Bodies
I am reminded of the conversation I had on Finding Magic in Midlife with Dr. Joan King, a former neuroscience professor and author of The Code of Authentic Living: Cellular Wisdom. She coaches people in how to be guided from deep inside, from our own cellular wisdom. As we were talking about the fast pace of our world today and the excitement of being able to have access to so many people through social media like Twitter, I made the comment that this constant stream of input made me feel overwhelmed at times.
Joan and I discussed her chapter called Turning On and Turning Off in which she addresses this very issue. Here is the wisdom from our cells: After the neurons are stimulated and release their transmitters they go into a quiet phase that is 3-4 times as long as when they were active. You see, when they are active lots of charged molecules are moving out and charged particles are moving in. The cells have to re-equilibrate and move things back into place (sort of like catching up with your filing). During this time, the neuron is completely still. If you force the neuron to fire during this restorative still time, it dies.
This is a perfect metaphor for our external lives. If we are constantly busy, if we don’t take time for silence and regain our equilibrium, nothing will be integrated and we will burn out. We will lose our connection to the larger source, our creative ability, our sense of peace and well being – our restorative connection to the Still Point.
Footnote: The Still Point in a Turning World is a line from T. S. Eliot