Stillness, patience and calm are states of mind that people strive for in their lives. There is much more talk in the media and in conversation about the return to a more simple way of life and the importance of reaching a state of stillness and calm. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga and other ways to achieve this state are rampant. I have been writing about patience, calm and stillness from the perspective of my personal pursuit of these qualities. I have also been exploring how these states of being relate to nature and what we can learn from nature in achieving these states. Being in a forest, walking along a beach or watching the water flow in a creek or a waterfall can give us a sense of calm. We notice a change in our being even though we may not identify it as calm.
Although as a society we tend to be on a treadmill of activity there is an underlying yet often unconscious awareness that this level of activity cannot be maintained for an extended period of time, that we need some down-time. Rushing around without much thought about why and what we are doing and at what cost to our health and well-being and the health of our society is commonplace.
If we have an opening in our activity level and a chance to examine and explore ways to move into stillness and patience we are fortunate. In looking for stillness and calm we may fall into the trap of seeing it as something we must achieve as a goal. If we manage to get a sense of stillness or calm and feel that we have reached that state of mind we may stop any efforts that will help us to maintain that sense. We may think in achieving the goal that we have finished this pursuit.
I challenged this notion and noted that we may mistake an experience of stillness or patience as comfort and allow this level of comfort to limit the continual expansion of our awareness. As noted in a previous post (Is this stillness or an impasse?, January 16, 2012) I wonder if rather than viewing stillness and patience as an avenue for relaxation and reduced activity perhaps we could see it as a tool to help us move into a broadened perspective and expanded participation in the world.
Progress towards stillness and patience gives us an opportunity to open our awareness and see where and what we are doing with our lives and whether this still makes sense. It provides us an opportunity to see beyond our personal worlds and engage in considering, thinking and acting in ways that support the world and not just our part of it. Through a calming in our own lives we are offered an opening to participate in a broader effort towards expanded consciousness much needed in today’s world. Through our personal level of stillness and patience we have a chance to contribute to a move to a more peaceful world. Rather than absentmindedly contributing to various forms of violence, fear or anger in our world we may be able to stand back and think before we respond and act. Through being mindful of our responses and reactions we may choose to act in a way that does not contribute to these less positive states. Instead we may contribute in a more thoughtful and peace-promoting way which from my viewpoint makes us feel better personally at the same time as contributing to a more cooperative environment within our world.
As in some of my thoughts about moderation and choice by changing how we respond to other people, considering opportunities presented to us and or examining the philosophy for how we lead our lives we are better able to move towards enhancing community, cooperation, and relationship in our world. Having a part in promoting these elements of society is where the value of personal patience and stillness can be found. If we have reached a state of comfort or contentment through our increased experience with patience, stillness and calm we are more likely to and better able to consider these elements from a societal level and to act in ways that see these elements improved.
Efforts to reach a state of mindfulness, patience or stillness are signs that we are moving in the right direction. By increasing the numbers of people who consider and then experience these states and the intensity of these states the positive impact on the overall operation of society is heightened. We open our awareness and begin to question and see where and what we are doing within society and whether this still makes sense. Taking the time to evaluate and reconsider some of our now accepted practices can help us evolve in a direction that can support and sustain the planet and how we live in harmony with it.
Irene McDermott © 2012