Finding Freedom in These Challenging Times

Finding Freedom

Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote frequently and insightfully about stillness …so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing … I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing… and more.

Eliot’s thoughts are well worth pondering – and pondering even more the significance of absence as the solution to a better understanding of life.  In Stillness Meditation Therapy we offer the skill of simplicity and absence as the ultimate step in change, growth and of course, finding freedom.

Freedom is the most precious gift humanity can know, and a perennial cause for celebration. And yet the word ‘freedom’ prompts a reminder of the gradual erosion of the freedom we regularly learn of.  Violence attacks freedom as words and actions in various forms begin with small judgments and escalate to attack … from acts of domestic violence to invasive occupation and oppression of other lands.
I’ve written of this before, but I can never forget the experience of spring celebrations near the site of liberation in Tallin, Estonia, alongside the giant memorial cross made of glass – glass as an ongoing reminder of the fragility of freedom.  Even more imprinted in my mind is the shocking tourist visit to the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  At Birkenau, the opening words on the plaque of remembrance state: For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity …  One would think humanity might have learned. 


“Teach us to care and not to care, teach us to sit still”. T.S. Eliot


Yet still our world knows war and terror, with thousands seeking refuge in safe lands – so much trauma and sorrow.

Yet on a far smaller scale as individuals, sometimes it can be challenging to gain and sustain the strength we need ourselves, simply in daily living.  Life challenges of many varieties exist and enter all people’s lives.  These challenges are seen as ‘stress’ meaning worry, lost energy, mental burnout, confusion, with rampant life limiting anxiety and shades of depression.  

Let’s think, then, about absence – the missing piece in the puzzle of life.  The concept of absence may mean new strengths to recognise, develop and practice.  Let’s think about developing the practice of an undisturbed mind to better manage such stress; to differentiate what’s really important; to increase confidence and gain better health and energy and to shore up the strength to persist when trouble brings great pain. 

The tree is a good example of survival.  Beginning as a seed and then a sapling the tree survives by standing firm despite the stressors that change its shape and make it one of a kind.  It’s the same for us.  By regularly doing ‘nothing’ in a special way, we too can accept, grow and calmly strengthen to fulfil our own unequalled self
We at Stillness Meditation Therapy Consultancy can help you to develop skills of simplicity and absence, and assist you to step into change, growth and finding freedom.

                                                                                                © Pauline McKinnon, October 2022