Do you know anyone like this? Someone who frantically scurries around while complaining about their lack of time? You probably have friends and acquaintances just like this. Maybe you’re a little like this too. If you are one of them, then perhaps you should begin cultivating stillness.
This doesn’t mean you have to abandon all your responsibilities and obligations. Instead, it involves mindfully finding moments of calm and tranquility amidst the chaos of daily life. By intentionally incorporating stillness into your routine, you can create a sense of balance and improve your overall mental and emotional well-being.
The Importance of Cultivating Stillness
Overly busy people are seldom content and nearly never happy. Think about it. How can you be happy if you don’t take the time to enjoy what you already have?
When you are constantly trying to get one more thing done, you never have time to smell the roses. There’s always so much to do and so little time.
Perhaps you’re reading this article because you can relate. You feel constantly rushed and feel that your life is out of balance. If this is you then cultivating stillness is exactly what you need.
The Two Types of Stillness
You can cultivate stillness two ways. You can be quiet in body and quiet in mind. At times, both are equally important.
When you reduce physical effort, you give yourself time to recharge as you conserve your energy. This will help you to feel less exhausted at the end of the day.
The same goes for mental stillness. When you allow yourself time to cultivate mental quietness, you give yourself time to recharge your psychological, intellectual, and emotional energy.
Cultivating Stillness of Body and Mind
When cultivating body stillness, all you have to do is to finish what you’re working on and then relax. You can conserve energy while completing tasks by maximizing the efficiency of your movements. Little movements can get big results. To get an idea of how to reduce your effort, just watch the movements of a Zen monk in action or notice how a cat relaxes.
While achievable, mind stillness can be more challenging. However, this kind of quietness is much more critical to your overall contentment.
How do you feel when you get upsetting news? How about when you finally reach your target at work, win an award, or find yourself suddenly in a crisis? Like nearly all people, you feel a rush of adrenaline. You probably express your feelings with a gush of emotion through words or action. This is a normal response to these types of events.
But if this such a natural response, what’s the need for stillness?
When you’re centered, you don’t overreact. Cultivating stillness allows you to make the space necessary to stay in the moment and respond appropriately. You can be more objective. Most importantly, cultivating stillness allows you to learn from your circumstances and use them to develop yourself.
Finally, as you learn to cultivate internal quietness, you’re much less likely to face extreme ups and downs. This can be good for your mind and body.
Use these Tips for Cultivating Stillness
When faced with an extreme situation, pause to give yourself space to pull away from the circumstance for a moment. Take a moment to take a deep breath before you react. You can find more about how to use breathing to calm your mind in Mindful Mastery.
When confronted with a situation, most people react by saying the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, as you take your breath, listen carefully to what’s being said. Use the space you made with the pause from step one to bring your mind back to the moment. This will keep you from spitting out words that you may later regret.
Let the other person speak and pay attention. By cultivating stillness, you can learn to get past the words and get to the meaning of what the other person is saying.
Take some time to contemplate why you’re facing the situation. Ask yourself, “Did I play a part in creating this situation?” You might find that the situation is simply mirroring you.
Also, ask, “Is there something I need to learn from this circumstance?” By cultivating stillness, you can receive feedback in a way that will help you when confronted with a similar situation in the future.
By taking these three steps, you can avoid overreacting or reacting negatively or in haste. Then, when you do respond, you will have the right response for your circumstances.
You can also cultivate stillness by practicing silence. Create a rule for yourself that you will only speak only when necessary. Only speak when you can say something of consequence or something that will help the other person.
Before speaking, examine your motivation. Is it to further the other person’s wellbeing or is it to praise yourself or prove that you’re right and the other person is wrong?
If you always need to be right, you will always have conflict. By using silence, you can change this.
You’ll also find that, when you’re habitually silent, your words have a more powerful effect on others. People will pay attention to what you have to say.
Begin Cultivating Stillness Today
Remember, cultivating stillness is a gradual process. It requires patience and commitment to build your awareness so you can make intentional choices to create moments of calm in your life.
By embracing stillness, you can find greater clarity, peace, and a renewed sense of purpose amid the busyness of everyday life.
Use these tips to create that space. As you practice these guidelines, you’ll find you have a calmer mind and a more meaningful life.
You can cultivate stillness.