(Extract from “Living Calm in a busy world”)
Each person will experience something unique to themselves… you will know you have captured the stillness when it happens! For me, it is something timeless, closed yet spacious, within a very safe and content knowledge that all is well. IT is pure calm, beyond feeling or sensation. There is no awareness either – it is beyond awareness and is perhaps best described as a state of being that just is.
Others describe being grounded, floating, containment, ‘me being me’, waves of in and out and dropping down, love with a capital L, waves of color (usually purple) that melt into nothingness, a kind of truth without logic, something beyond physical and mental. You will recognise something different and the stillness will be your own. Here is an account of one person’s introduction to Stillness Meditation. “Jennifer” responded to Stillness Meditation very quickly and described her experience as follows:
The introductory session had prepared me well for my beginning with the group. Nevertheless, I was quite nervous on day one. The atmosphere was very conducive to relaxation and soon I began to feel my body becoming warm and heavy. However, I also became aware of parts of my body where tension was stubborn and realised that it was necessary to consciously let these go repeatedly until, little by little, they too began to adapt to ease instead of pressure. My shoulders in particular were subject to this response. Hearing the encouraging words ‘just letting’ in comforting tones from time to time was very helpful and gave me a sense of safety. I sensed myself feeling free-er and somehow more confident. The use of touch, gently on my shoulders and forehead, was really good. This had a noticeably deepening effect, assisting me to relax more and more in the experience of stillness.
At one stage, a variety of colours and images moved in and out of my mental view. I had been advised to ignore these, letting them go and soon they passed. The same with any thoughts that passed in and out of my consciousness. Initially, I knew I was thinking. But, as instructed, I paid no attention and the thoughts became more dreamlike than actual. Also, at first I was quite aware of my surroundings, of others in the room, of Pauline’s presence, but after a while that awareness disappeared. Towards the conclusion of the session there was no visual image at all. Instead, I was, it seemed, embraced in a warm greyness or nothingness really – yet it felt like everything. My mind was light and my body was heavy. Well, actually, I couldn’t feel my body at all; I just knew it was there. But this was a very pleasant sensation. I wasn’t asleep either, because I knew what was happening. Everything I needed – safety, security, strength, peace – was within that stillness, I wasn’t hungry, or thirsty, or hot or cold. I was just there, ‘being’. While there were really no consistent or logical thoughts – that is, I wasn’t actually thinking – I sensed my self and how good it was to be so peaceful and strong.
I also sensed a control in myself not known before, together with a kind of knowing. It seemed as if answers were there for me, all problems could easily be solved. I sensed in all this an immense power, a kind of love, I guess. All discomfort of any kind was gone. I was suspended in stillness, held in power which I knew was very good and peacefully confident.
I wanted this to go on forever. When the time came to open my eyes, they opened slowly, quite difficult to do! I took quite a few minutes to return to my full alertness. As I left the Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre, I felt somehow changed. I was the same, my life was the same, but I was somehow different too. I left in a profound feeling of optimism. The wonderful feeling of ease stayed throughout the day and that night I slept more deeply than I have done for many months.
My own practice next day was for a shorter period of time. I seemed able to glimpse the stillness again but not as deeply as I did in the facilitated session. I realise it will take a while before I reach that level of my own and I look forward to every step on the way.