It’s amazing what happens in stillness. In fact, everything we see in existence came from this still, silent place. The universe came to be by an explosion of consciousness from the stillness and silence of nothingness in space. Meditation brings about awareness and healing because it takes your mind and body to a place of stillness and silence, where new ideas or an observation of oneself is possible.
Think about it. Have you ever had an idea as you were nodding off to sleep? Doing nothing in the shower? Playing in the wild or surfing in the ocean?
Beyond creating space for new ideas, it also creates a space for whatever is currently happening behind the scenes in your life to play out.
Imagine being in a classical theater, high in the balcony overlooking an elaborate play on a magnificent stage. But rather than an audience that’s quietly watching, there’s an audience of hacklers, crying children, people talking on their cell phones, and a few teenagers listening to music on their iPods. In this space, the play cannot be acted out. The actors can’t finish their lines and the show gets caught in a loop trying to get through different scenes.
One of the most powerful approaches I take with my clients is to create a space whereby their neurosis, insecurities, ticks, discomfort, and patterns of behavior – what I like to call “stories” – play out into awareness. In the silence of no talking, in the stillness of non‐activity, my clients’ stories are forced to perform. I become fully present for them, yet still and silent.
Their fears of intimacy manifest. Their discomfort with being in their own body surfaces. Their insecurity of being judged plays out through their eye patterns. Their uncertainty of silence, fear of nothingness, and loneliness in not being engaged are exposed by their need to force a conversation or ask “What? What? Why are’t you talking? Say something! WHAT?!”
Being in this stillness and silence allows all our neurotic plays to be acted out – of course, if we allow them to fully play out. That’s where the healing takes place; when we can finally let all of those stories play out to the end, emerging into stillness and silence. No round of applause. No standing ovation. Just a silent finale after the frenzy of our inner chaos.
This in itself is therapeutic, and simply letting all of this out is profound. Oftentimes, I will also point out or playback for them to see all the tiny nuances of their neurotic, subconscious behavior acting out from these stories and go into deeper work with them. It’s an incredible process to go through, and one of the reasons my clients have such profound transformations.
I’ve found incredible benefit from applying this into my own life as well; going into situations and simply doing nothing and attempting to just “be”. Just being still, silent, and present, and allowing whatever wants to happen, happen. If I’m nervous, I’ll feel through the story that tells me I need to be nervous until I’m hopefully not nervous anymore. If I discover the cause for it, I’ll feel through to its origin and clear it out and continue until I reach stillness.
Sometimes I don’t though – actually, let’s be real – most of the time. Why? Because I’m not silent, I’m not still. I have 100 ideas in my head. I’m worried about others. I’m not in “the now”. I’m caught up in my fears. And that’s okay. However, it’s not mindfulness, and a lack of which prevents us from being aware of the aspects of ourselves that aren’t true to who we are – they’re just stories we have in our head.
I urge you to find a place of stillness and silence where you can surrender into all the stories you’ve adopted. The story that “If I’m by myself everybody will think I’m a loser”, or “I’m fat, I don’t feel good in my body”, or “I need to keep the conversation going or else I look boring”, or “I have to do, do, do”, or “I’m not good enough”, or “I’m better than these people”, or “My parents abandoned me emotionally as a child, so now I’m co‐dependent”.
Whatever the stories are for you, let them play out. And they’ll play out totally subconsciously through body language, ticks, tone, posture, energy, movement, words – anything. Everything that you’re doing, thinking, or saying besides being totally silent in a place of stillness is an unfinished story trying to reach its resolution. And yes, it goes beyond literally silent; a person can be physically and vocally still and silent, but have chaos churning inside their head. The stories are being played out in the mind, rather than felt through the body where they can be released and moved through.
Next time you feel compelled to “make noise” out of discomfort, run away, hide, get defensive, or anything that disrupts the stillness of the moment – become aware of yourself and see what story is trying to play out. Was it that one kid in 3rd grade who made fun of you for being shy? Was it your mother’s habit of criticizing herself? Whatever it is for you, just let it go damn it. Let it all play out into its fullness. And just like any good play or film – move through the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts until you reach the stillness inside and out to match the stillness inherent around you.
In the stillness, everything happens. In the silence, everything is said.
What have you discovered in the silence? Let me know in the comments below!
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