“Be the still point…”, “Quiet your monkey mind…”. How many times have you been told that stillness is the way to inner connection?
In moments of uncertainty and change, meditation and mindfulness are often suggested as ways to help ourselves cope. The popular perception is that it’s all about remaining perfectly still, not even moving if a mosquito bites!
But is it really about the stillness itself? Or is it actually about becoming more present to change?
At the heart of mindfulness is the concept of nurturing awareness – and this inevitably involves noticing change: the passing peripheral sounds, the shifting temperatures. Even the breath flowing in and out is subtly different every time – sometimes the air is cold on the lips as it flows in, other times it’s barely perceptible. One breath might reach deep into your belly, the next might barely fill your lungs.
At every turn noticing change is actually the thing which is helping keep us present and connected.
Sensation and movement
When it comes to sensation our bodies need variety to stay engaged: think about putting on a pair of jeans – at first you feel them against your legs, but within a very short space of time you stop noticing they’re even there. When the same sensory receptors in the skin get stimulated in the same way for too long they simply stop responding.
Movement is actually a great way to stay in the moment. Think about the presence required for rock-hopping, or dancing – the constant split-second navigation between balance and tipping point, between harmony and collision. In the midst of constant flow or change there’s little time for the mind to take over.
The challenges of change
Of course some people use constant change as a way of distracting themselves from themselves. Others hate change and will do anything to avoid it (including sabotaging their own needs). Many of the most challenging times in life involve great change. But these often also turn out to be some of the most rewarding experiences.
The trick is to notice the subtle nuances within change. Moving fast can feel scary, but it can also bring a sense of liberation or freedom.
Your body’s needs (either physical or emotional) are not fixed, but can change day to day, even minute to minute. Learning to listen to, understand and communicate these subtle changes can make the difference between feeling immobilised weakness or courageous vulnerability.
So next time you engage in the art of being still, see if you can notice how much change is actually present. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
If you want to learn how to get better at noticing get in touch with me
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