“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be a mere rushing on.” D. H. Lawrence
I had to break my toe to find stillness. I came to realize that despite daily meditation my pace of life is still hectic and hurried; the stillness I cultivated in meditation fleeting. With the sudden onset of limited and slow mobility, I realized that stillness embodies more than 20 minutes of meditation but a deeper cultivation in all areas of my life. I realize that when I lose touch with my inner stillness that I also lose touch with the way I move in the world.
In my teaching life I was reminded of the importance of cultivating stillness in the lives of my students as well. Before each class begins, I start by ringing a small chime and inviting students to be still for a 3 minutes of silence and centering—a simple practice with profound benefits. A student explained how much she enjoyed this practice, commenting on how difficult it was to arrive in a class and have the teacher immediately start lecturing while she felt the need to transition into the space and prepare to learn. Without a chance to find stillness, she explained she was often disconnected and scattered not fully engaging in the material. The 3 minutes of silence helped her to be present and prepared to learn. Her comments reminded me, that by cultivating a space for stillness, a deeper and more profound dimension of awareness is awakened within me, informing how I move through my day. I am reminded to pay attention and let stillness awaken in me a dimension not accessible through hurried and unaware movement. I may also avoid breaking another toe.
How do you cultivate stillness in your life, personally or professionally? Does it change the way you interact with your students?