Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth, Stillness / Chen Ji, 2011
BEGINNING A PRACTICE session, one may aspire, first, to still the body. Rather than intentionally bringing the mind to the breath, when nothing moves, the breath and heartbeat appear.
In stillness, nothing is really still. Everything is changing. Air is moving, blood pulsing, respiration, digestion, cells birthing and dying.
For a time, the fast pace of everyday life—left at the doorway--reappears and restless boredom knock against the stillness.
As the practice session continues, the pace slows, and offers the deep pleasure of moments of intentionally stilling the body. Going further, stopping the breath for a few heartbeats at the end of an exhale, one may fall into “perfectly peaceful pose.”
Stilling body movement, to the degree that this is possible, may operate metaphorically as a lens than can penetrate more deeply either internally or externally—widening or focusing, depending on the call of a particular moment. And unlike an ever-changing TV screen, we control the gaze.
The lens of our microscopic and telescopic perception is brought into focus with the “dials” of calmness and quietness. And no matter how minute or vast the landscape into which we peer, we may occasionally arrive at the same place—a stillpoint. At stillpoint, we will find both energy and restoration.
Discovering a “stillpoint” within ourselves may be somewhat akin to a sense of sitting before a serene, reflecting pool. Gazing into this pool, we may see things reflected from its surface that may seem apart from us. Our thinking tends, first, to take the world apart. In actuality, we look into a mirror. In our sustained view, we begin to see the larger reach of ourselves. Inside and outside transform to become a continuum into which we are woven. In every moment, external atmosphere and internal heartbeat are interwoven. In our quiet sensing, we awaken to this inseparability.