This week I learned about the importance of stillness. This is a hard concept to grasp, especially when you live in a big city. The hustle and bustle around you, the constant atmosphere of go-go-go!, the never ending waves of motion and change--it's hard not to get swept up in the turmoil when it's all around you. After a while, this constant busyness becomes the norm in your life, and it's hard to go back to the state of null if you were ever there in the first place. Once this hectic lifestyle becomes imbedded inside your head, you begin to crave the constant distractions of twenty-first century life, having to be occupied and entertained at every single moment of the day. Your state of mind is frantic, anxious, wild. Forever swirling and whirling. You always have to be doing something. Because what's the alternative, to do nothing?
People are always going somewhere, heading someplace, arriving, leaving, saying hello, saying goodbye. They are never still. Physically, they are always on the go, never in one place too long. People run from classes to meetings to food to more classes to the gym to work to practice. So many minutes in a day, 1440 to be exact, all melting away in the blink of an eye. How many of those minutes are spent still? Not too many, I'd imagine. Even as we sit in a boring lecture with a teacher that drones on, we sit still, but our minds dance, absorbing streams of social media, responding to messages, shopping for a new sweater. Stillness gets lost in the chaos.
Sometimes people are sad, and they think maybe if they just leave this one place and go somewhere else, anywhere else, things will be better. They are insistent on this. It's this place, it's this horrible town, it's the people around me, they say. But then they get to a new place, and the same problems persist. They can run away to wherever they want, but their troubles will follow.
Change, motion, movement--these are a natural part of life, necessary even, but they do not define it. People have gotten used to constant change, so much so that they think it will solve their internal struggles. They think, if I don't move forward, surely I must be moving backwards? This is not true, there is a middle ground, and that is stillness. Stillness: peace, tranquility, calmness. It can never be found in the chaos.
Stillness is a good thing, and it is becoming more and more neglected in modern-day life. People don't realise that it is okay to switch to airplane mode for a while, to get off the grid, to look within themselves for answers instead of always looking outwards. They don't realise they are addicted to motion, and how it easily it can consume them. They don't realise that sometimes, the best thing to do for yourself is to just stay still and watch the rest of the world, and nothing else. Only for a moment. Just sit still, relax, and be.