7 Steps to Practicing Stillness
by Liz Jansen
Last week in the article on Embracing Active Stillness, I talked about my intentional decision to learn and practice stillness. Here I’ll show you how I’m doing it. Down the road, I’ll let you know how it’s working.
That stillness requires inertia, inaction, or passivity is misleading. It happens when you’re alert, awake, and open. Stilling your will and staying in touch with your inner guidance can happen no matter what you’re doing or where you are. Learning it requires you to be fully present. It’s work, but it’s so worth it.
Here’s how to go about practicing stillness.
- Decide. Creating a practice of stillness requires a conscious choice. It strengthens awareness, changes your perspective, and builds clarity upon which you can make choices that are much better for you. But it’s change and your ego, and others, will send up red flags at every turn, encouraging you to doubt the guidance you receive. You feel vulnerable and frightened. You’ll also experience a deep sense of peace, connection to Spirit, and fulfillment.
- Start small. Like any new undertaking, you’ll be more successful by starting small and building on your successes. Practice on easy things, like what to wear or what to have for dinner.
- Accept that you do not know. Let go. If you are afraid and see it as loss of control, remember the feeling you are in control is an illusion. As confident as you might feel, you don’t know where Spirit is going to lead or what will be asked of you on any particular day. When I set out on my Wheels to Wisdom quest, I was confident that I knew what I was doing, and would be guided to the people and experiences I needed. I soon realized that I hadn’t been thorough enough in understanding how much time it would take or the protocol involved. Now that I’ve had a chance to sit back and do some research, I realize how ill prepared I was, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that at the time.
- Ask for guidance. Often that’s all it takes to get an answer. I was riding through South Dakota, feeling somewhat unwell, and mused, “I wonder what I could do to make me feel better.” Not a minute later, a big Bentonite sign appeared, designating a mine entrance. I’d been taking the medicinal clay as part of a wellness strategy and had forgotten to bring it with me. I had my answer.
- Listen inwardly for a reply. It involves feelings, impulses, or sensations your body will send that translate to a sudden knowing of what to do. Ana Forrest, Creatrix of Forrest Yoga and Medicine Woman is a master at this. Watch her being interviewed and you’ll see her close her eyes to listen to what her body is telling her to do before she responds to questions. Listen to our podcast: Daily Diet for the Evolving Soul.
- Dare to act. While it seems contrary to letting go, it’s important to act on the guidance you’ve received while staying free of your personal agenda. This means going beyond your five senses, beyond your reasoning, and listening to your intuition. You’ll be amazed at how your intuition grows and how reliable the its counsel is. Sure it takes courage, but that too will grow.
- Practice. Draw consistently from your intuitive ability and you’ll get increasingly better at hearing your inner guidance. Practice builds awareness, trust, and hones your intuition. When I get direction in response to a question, even the simple ones, I follow through on it. If I’m going to do what I want anyway, that sends a huge message of mistrust, undermines my confidence, and shuts down my intuition.
Practicing stillness of will makes you realize how little you really know. You appreciate how limited and biased your perspective is and how important it is to open yourself up to a vision greater than your own. You’ll find yourself much more effective in your relationships, work, and personal life. Even better, it will create opportunities you had never dreamt of. Try it!
I’d love to hear from you. How do you practice stillness?