Be Still (I Cannot)

The Art of Being Still

I behooved my mind – be still. 

But my mind keeps wandering off – to where, I am not sure.  It just needs to meander about and hop from one idea – question – thought – decision – realization – to another.  I cannot stop it.  I cannot keep it still.  It has to ponder the blueness of the sky or the crispness of the winds (yeah right) or what I have to do next.  And before I know it, I am standing up, or jumping about, or talking on the phone, or tinkering with my computer keys, or ruffling the pages of the newspaper or a book – anything but still.  It will not be still.

And everyone, of late, have been harping about stillness.  About how I need it to cure the incessant noise in my life – that could drain, depress, stress, fatten, and burn – me.   

But what is stillness, really?

Is it the mind blanketed by snow, heavy, peerless, gazeless?  Do I have to ponder my humanity and come up with convictions that would shake my soul?  Do I have to sit really still?  For how long? Where do I look?  How do I breathe? (and if I doze off, would it be okay?)

You can sense that I am panicking.  I cannot do it. (and I want to do it)

In this age of multi-tasking, with the mind and the body trained to do one thousand and one things at once, it is virtually impossible to just watch time and cease to be.  I am afraid to cease to be

If I sit still and watch the minutes tick, won’t I lose my relevance?

If I do not look at and live in the next minute, hour, weeks, the future, that if I watch my life go by, won’t it go by?  Won’t I fall into an abyss – of the unprepared, of those caught unaware, of those caught with nothing in their hands, with nothing to show for it (not even irrelevant twitches)?

But lesser noise, lesser movement, going deep, stripping away all activity, silence – and healing – is seductive.  But how does one get to less?  To still?

Maybe I just need to practice more.  Maybe in peeling away all the layers of my many concerns and trivial pursuits (by embracing stillness), I will see with gossamer clarity my life and my meaning.

Article by Issa. Art by Danvic.  Copyright 2010.
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  1. Didi Paterno says:

    I know the feeling my dear. Even when the body gives you the perfect opportunity to be still like getting sick. A forced / imposed opportunity to be still. I think that you, we live on the premise that time is gold, time is something that you can never ever gain back.

    But sometimes being still will help us 1) step back and see the bigger picture and 2) move more or bigger mountains given limited time.

    It is also a challenge for me being in such a fast paced industry. Hay. The challenges of the job

  2. Issa says:

    @Didi Very true, there’s so much noise around and we need to stop and get off once in a while. I actually tried to sit still this afternoon and got it, for once. I think it is the guilt (time not well spent?) that stops us from pursuing inactivity but when you think about it, rest (lying down or letting gravity take effect) is our natural state and we are going against nature by moving.

    I heard you are back at work. I did that a year ago. But I found out that I can still pursue my little pursuits even when I think my time is beholden to someone. More power!!!

  3. Didi Paterno says:

    Yes I’ve been back since last May 🙂 Sana nga we allow ourselves not to feel guilty about it. I even think if our parents did not mind being still waaaay back. How times have changed if ever…

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