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In Stillness and Community

To Be Simply, Radically, Absolutely Still

--by Gangaji (May 27, 2013)


Sometimes, in a blessed life, there arises what we call the spiritual search, the search for God, the search for Truth. There is a recognition that the usual means of taking care of this command just doesn’t take care of it. There is a putting aside of what we have called mundane existence and a turning of one’s attention toward spiritual life. Unfortunately, the same conditioning that directed the mundane life usually also attempts to direct the spiritual search, and it, then, becomes a search for spiritual pleasure, spiritual comfort, spiritual security. Sooner or later there has to be a disillusionment with that search also. […]
I got a note this afternoon from someone asking, “Which world religions are your principles based upon?” Well, I haven’t made a study of world religions, except superficially, but what I have seen is that at the heart of every human being, there is a command to find this that I am calling right now, “happiness.” But I have discovered that it is impossible to find happiness. As long as you are seeking to find happiness “somewhere,” you are overlooking where happiness is. I would say the same in reference to God. As long as you are seeking to find God in some place, you are overlooking the essential truth of God, which is Omnipresence. When you seek to find happiness someplace else, you are overlooking your true nature which is happiness. You are overlooking yourself. 
So this teaching is the invitation and the challenge to stop overlooking — to simply, radically, absolutely, Be Still. To put aside, at least for a moment, all of your ideas of where God is, or where Truth is, or where you are. All of your ideas of what God, or Truth, or you have to give or receive. Put them aside. Be still. Stop looking anywhere. Stop seeking. Simply be. Not be in a stupor, or be in a trance, or even be like a cow is being in a field, but deeper than that, so that the revelation of Omnipresence can be recognized, can be revealed, the revelation of your true nature. I don’t mean your personality. I mean deeper than your personality and present in all the fluctuations of your personality. Be still in the presence of that. Not be still to create that. Not even be still to invite that. Be still simply to recognize what is always here, who you always are.


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47 Previous Reflections:

 
On Sep 29, 2014 Chris wrote:

 We use this principle in the our moving company http://www.sfmoving.com



On Sep 29, 2014 Angela wrote:

 Thanks for a great article. If you do not mind I use it at my essay writing. Thank you one more time.



On Aug 13, 2014 Joshua Giddens wrote:

 Whenever I face some serious problem in my life, I get to tend myself for the spiritual search, but I used to neglect it later as I got my problems solved in a fine case. Maybe I could get myself wrong as I changed my mindset after going through this article. Yeah, finding happiness equals the spiritual search. I've been working on college paper writing services over the same topic. Hope I would finish on a high note. Thanks for the share.



2 replies: Amy, Dilip | Post Your Reply
On Apr 11, 2014 Ed wrote:

Language is a means, not an end.  
In cue why it
eye re-see'v
God's Word
today.



1 reply: A | Post Your Reply
On Apr 11, 2014 Ed wrote:

 From A Course In Miracles, today's lesson for me coincidentally happens to be Lesson 125.  "In quiet I receive God's Word today."  I also highlighted, "We will not judge ourselves today, for what we are can not be judged."



On Apr 10, 2014 chitarta wrote:

a few sniplets i like to share: "BE..............................still and know u r GODDESS/THAT/SUCHNESS"
how do you perceive the world thru a still/thoughtfree mind???                                                                                    Where is each thought arising from? what is the source of each thought? Instead of being interested in the content of thought, look with couriosiy & ease where each thought is arising from ? NO mental/mind answer has to be given !!!....just rest in the source of each thought and ENJOY !!!



1 reply: Terry | Post Your Reply
On Jun 9, 2013 Pius Thekemury wrote:

 seeking is necessary, just as keeping awake is necessary to see the sunrise. But my my keeping awake does not make the sun to rise. It is a grace given to me when I am open, when i have done my part to dispose myself to the gift of silence  



On Jun 6, 2013 SFMedic wrote:

 As Yoda once said, "There is no trying young Luke, there is only doing"
When one is trying, they are thinking and planning which distracts from doing.
When one becomes aware they are happy, it diminishes a part of the happiness.
Perhaps your story can be explained by another ancient wisdom;
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War



On Jun 4, 2013 Dilip Shah wrote:

Last week, at the Awakin Circle, I put aside my prepared comments below and instead, commented on Dineshbhai’s comments on knowing and doing. This was in relation to happiness and stillness as discussed in the passage. Dineshbhai’s comments were focused on doing vs stillness as doing implies moving.   I think we can achieve stillness while “doing” if we feel happy while “doing” and gradually progress to being at peace while “doing”. Peace leads to stillness. Stillness in this context refers to non-physical stillness – stillness of mind and emotions. Physical stillness is not really important. In most cases, it is a necessary part of being a human being and living a human life. So, if we can achieve happiness and progress to being at peace while “doing”, we can achieve stillness while “doing”.   Another random thought: Stillness – Learn how to be still (both physical and non-physical), but def  See full.

Last week, at the Awakin Circle, I put aside my prepared comments below and instead, commented on Dineshbhai’s comments on knowing and doing. This was in relation to happiness and stillness as discussed in the passage. Dineshbhai’s comments were focused on doing vs stillness as doing implies moving.
 
I think we can achieve stillness while “doing” if we feel happy while “doing” and gradually progress to being at peace while “doing”. Peace leads to stillness. Stillness in this context refers to non-physical stillness – stillness of mind and emotions. Physical stillness is not really important. In most cases, it is a necessary part of being a human being and living a human life. So, if we can achieve happiness and progress to being at peace while “doing”, we can achieve stillness while “doing”.
 
Another random thought: Stillness – Learn how to be still (both physical and non-physical), but define stillness first. If you don’t know what stillness is, you cannot learn it, achieve it or practice it.
 
Prepared comments:

1. Existence is mundane only if we let it be mundane.  It is in our mind and it is a matter of attitude. It is in our hands and within our control.

2. Don’t try to “find” happiness – just experience it. Happiness cannot be found, it can only be experienced. For that, one has to have an open mind. Happiness is a state of mind and is completely within every individual’s control. Only we can make ourselves happy or unhappy. No one else can do it for us or do it to us.
 
Happiness, as God, cannot be physically experienced with our 5 senses or 5 sense organs – eyesight, touch, smell, hearing and taste (eyes, skin, nose, ears and tongue). We strive to “search” what our 5 senses cannot physically experience. Again, an open mind is the key.
 
Life is a slope.  Many times it is a slippery slope. Once you see a slope in front of you, hold back. Some people see a slope and see dangers. When I see a slippery slope in front of me, I think of a skier. A skier sees a slippery slope and sees an opportunity to have the most fun in life. That is because the skier has trained and equipped himself or herself to overcome the dangers and instead enjoy. Is this not a matter of attitude? So, train your mind to overcome obstacles, see opportunities ahead and prepare to enjoy. By the way, do try to avoid dangers by all means.
 
Perhaps, the only way to be happy is happy is to make someone else (others) happy. Try it, you might like it.

3. Being still – In strictly physical terms, stillness implies lack of motion - as in standing still or sitting still. However, when motion leads to some kind of progress, it may not be too bad after all.
 
Stillness of mind is difficult, almost impossible to achieve. For most part, it is illusive. Stillness of emotions is easier to achieve. It does take lots of practice, control and effort.

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4 replies: Somik, Ed, Conrad, Dilip | Post Your Reply
On Jun 1, 2013 Carol Voigts wrote:

 I just lost my stepson last week.  He was 37.  I had been with him for 9 years.  Two years ago his father died and I became guardian.  Rodney was Down Syndrome, and delightful Today is his memorial service.  We plan to have some reading along the very line of this.  It reminded me of how lucky we were that Rodney taught us this in person.  I wrote a poem for him, that I'll read at the service and then we're going to listen to the Beach Boys and have root beer floats (two of his favorite things.  Thank you for this. Ten Things to Live By As Taught by Rodney   Throw back you head and enjoy life   Laugh until the tears come   Dance while the music is playing   Give hugs to anyone who needs one   Taste everything good   Cuddle the animals   Never pass up an opportunity for a friend   Smile really big   Remember to say you're sorry   AND YES, ENJOY LIFE!  See full.

 I just lost my stepson last week.  He was 37.  I had been with him for 9 years.  Two years ago his father died and I became guardian.  Rodney was Down Syndrome, and delightful Today is his memorial service.  We plan to have some reading along the very line of this.  It reminded me of how lucky we were that Rodney taught us this in person.  I wrote a poem for him, that I'll read at the service and then we're going to listen to the Beach Boys and have root beer floats (two of his favorite things.  Thank you for this.

Ten Things to Live By As Taught by Rodney

 

Throw back you head and enjoy life

 

Laugh until the tears come

 

Dance while the music is playing

 

Give hugs to anyone who needs one

 

Taste everything good

 

Cuddle the animals

 

Never pass up an opportunity for a friend

 

Smile really big

 

Remember to say you're sorry

 

AND YES, ENJOY LIFE!

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1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
On Jun 1, 2013 Carol Voigts wrote:

 I just lost my stepson last week.  He was 37.  I had been with him for 9 years.  Two years ago his father died and I became guardian.  Rodney was Down Syndrome, and delightful Today is his memorial service.  We plan to have some reading along the very line of this.  It reminded me of how lucky we were that Rodney taught us this in person.  I wrote a poem for him, that I'll read at the service and then we're going to listen to the Beach Boys and have root beer floats (two of his favorite things.  Thank you for this. Ten Things to Live By As Taught by Rodney   Throw back you head and enjoy life   Laugh until the tears come   Dance while the music is playing   Give hugs to anyone who needs one   Taste everything good   Cuddle the animals   Never pass up an opportunity for a friend   Smile really big   Remember to say you're sorry   AND YES, ENJOY LIFE!  See full.

 I just lost my stepson last week.  He was 37.  I had been with him for 9 years.  Two years ago his father died and I became guardian.  Rodney was Down Syndrome, and delightful Today is his memorial service.  We plan to have some reading along the very line of this.  It reminded me of how lucky we were that Rodney taught us this in person.  I wrote a poem for him, that I'll read at the service and then we're going to listen to the Beach Boys and have root beer floats (two of his favorite things.  Thank you for this.

Ten Things to Live By As Taught by Rodney

 

Throw back you head and enjoy life

 

Laugh until the tears come

 

Dance while the music is playing

 

Give hugs to anyone who needs one

 

Taste everything good

 

Cuddle the animals

 

Never pass up an opportunity for a friend

 

Smile really big

 

Remember to say you're sorry

 

AND YES, ENJOY LIFE!

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On May 30, 2013 Ed Bronson wrote:

 From A Course In Miracles- "I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me."
Workbook, Part 1- Review VI, Lessons 201-220
I am struck by the multiple meanings of "still".



On May 28, 2013 Bruce Preville wrote:

"Being still too recognize what is always here" is a pathway to truth.  Truth that lives in a presence rather than a figuring out, a realization rather than an inquiry, an experience rather than an understanding.  It is not making truth clear, but an allowing, consisting of removal of barriers to the apprehension of the truth, a truth that is always and has always been so, whether we noticed it or not.



1 reply: A | Post Your Reply
On May 28, 2013 Paul wrote:

 This is an enjoyable reflection especially in relation to what is called "spiritual materialism". This was a lesson learned the hard way by myself in my "seeking".  And yet my view may be contrary to what is mentioned above seeking seems to me to be very necessary. Without some desire we cannot even direct our mind towards what is skillful, indeed without a search, that of the samana, we cannot get to a place of stillness of mind or body. Though our failed attempts at happiness we eventually have to settle, to stop, to be still, and to look at what we already have, but even this is initiated by some motivation. We have to direct effort skillfully, in skillness, even in very subtle states we are still directing effort towards understanding. If we wish not for freedom we remain bound. Unknowingly relaxing as the enemy approaches, we get battered once again. To be vigilant is to engage in continuity, in understanding the enemy so that eventually he is known as he is, once know  See full.

 This is an enjoyable reflection especially in relation to what is called "spiritual materialism". This was a lesson learned the hard way by myself in my "seeking".  And yet my view may be contrary to what is mentioned above seeking seems to me to be very necessary. Without some desire we cannot even direct our mind towards what is skillful, indeed without a search, that of the samana, we cannot get to a place of stillness of mind or body. Though our failed attempts at happiness we eventually have to settle, to stop, to be still, and to look at what we already have, but even this is initiated by some motivation. We have to direct effort skillfully, in skillness, even in very subtle states we are still directing effort towards understanding.

If we wish not for freedom we remain bound. Unknowingly relaxing as the enemy approaches, we get battered once again. To be vigilant is to engage in continuity, in understanding the enemy so that eventually he is known as he is, once known he is no longer a danger.

In metta
-Paul

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On May 28, 2013 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

Thank you for another pearl of wisdom. Being Still has many gifts;  a feeling of calm, peace, quiet. Seeing, REALLY seeing something or even SomeONE in front of you. Hearing more clearly. All sense are heightened, at least in my experience. and the space allows in creativity, solutions. thank you. HUG.



On May 28, 2013 k wrote:

Thanks for this reminder. For me "being still" is quieting the inner dialog, the judgements, the hopes and expectations. (I don't see it as religious, for even that has a name.) I find it walking and while I weave, or am in the presence of animals.



On May 28, 2013 k wrote:

 



On May 28, 2013 Bk Dr.Asha wrote:

 Happiness is right within u. When u look for it outside, it is temporary because it relies on the external world. If God is omnipresent,then why are we so  negative win each other. Why is there crime, jealousy etc ? God is one, God is TRUTH.  To experience God, we have to be clean and honest. When we r TRUTH, ,we find GOD



On May 28, 2013 Terry Green wrote:

Yes!  The Bible says: "Be still and know that I am God."



On May 28, 2013 Kate wrote:

As a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) I value the Meeting for Worship (Quaker meeting) for the stillness it provides.  A Quaker meeting creates a space of gathered stillness where we can come together to listen to the promptings of truth and love in our hearts, which we understand as arising from God. Our meetings are based on silence:  a silence of waiting and listening.
George Fox, one of the early Quakers wrote in 1658  'Be still and cool in thy mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord God.'  
Quakers believe that each person is unique, precious, a child of God. 

In love and friendship 


On May 27, 2013 Lamar wrote:

 Is stillness the absence of movement and a quieting of the mind? Is it possible to find stillness in movement? Is the still point a sort of centering process that allows one to move fluidly while remaining still internally?



1 reply: Ganoba | Post Your Reply
On May 26, 2013 amy wrote:

 It's official, I am an introvert!  I need stillness!  I seek out "still" places, people and situations.  To think and function   properly, I have to find time for solitary stillness.  
My husband, son and mother in law, temporarily living with us, are more extroverted.  They're "charged" personalities, over time, drain me.  Their need for volume, motion, television, small talk, togetherness (in my opinion) is excessive.  I love them but find myself overwhelmed with their need for my attention.
How do I cultivate stillness?  I walk.  I go to another room and close the door.  I seek nature.  I tuck myself into the Spirit of God . . . Beneath His wing . . . Within His Heart.  
Like a car needs fuel, I need stillness, to move.
Love this weeks wisdom reading!  Thank you for being still with me . . .        



3 replies: Ganoba, Me, Bijay | Post Your Reply
On May 26, 2013 Ganoba wrote:

 Being still is being present and accepting all that is happening, in and around you.
Gangaji in using many negatives confuses and complicates the simple practice.
Just be.



On May 26, 2013 P. Murugan wrote:

Our incessant desire to satisfy a need leads to our despair and unhappiness. It is okay to reach out for basic needs and perhaps a little bit more for comfort. But the problem is to define this little bit more ... what is its benchmark?. Often we set our needs very high driven by consumerism and materialism, and therein lies our despair and unhappiness. Similarly, in seeking God we want our needs to be fulfilled by God ...often we want God to do miracles for us. When something nice happens when we did not expect it, we say God did it for me. To me this short article is asking us to be still ... still in mind and spirit. Let us still our minds in seeking needs that we don't really need. Let us be still and enjoy the beauties of creation and thus realise the omnipresence of God.



On May 26, 2013 teatotaller wrote:

The author is inviting us to be radically, absolutely still prior to seeking happiness, God or any kind of fulfillment for that matter. Is stillness then some sort of ideal state to be achieved as a means to an end? This is what the word ' cultivate' is generally understood to mean. It is not what I understand the author to actually say but rather that stillness is our true nature, not a state to be achieved but a state that naturally emerges once we stop seeking. Neither is he saying how to still the mind, indicating any sort of practice. What he is adamantly saying is just let go the mind, let it be still. Just do it then see what happens. The practice is: Just do it!  At least this is how I interpret this brief passage that doesn't say much about the relationship between stillness and perception but just invites us to try out being radically, absolutely still... for a change. Thank you Gangaji. 



On May 25, 2013 aj wrote:

 Amen, Gangaji, Conrad, Susan and David!  Grateful for your shared reflections.

~ Stillness (Quiet Confidence) in the security of His Love, Protection and POWER (His Glory) ~  lfm



On May 25, 2013 david doane wrote:

What comes to my mind in reading this piece and "be still to recognize what is always here" is the quote from Scripture "Be still and know that I am God," about which I have reflected much.  My reflection has included the following:: Be still and know that I (ie, me, David) am God, meaning that I am a projection and expression of God, a projection that is only a very tiny speck of a projection of God but is unique and significant, so it is important for me to recognize, allow, accept, listen closely to, and cherish what I hear in listening to my I (not my ego but my inner self and voice).  That inner I is an expression of God, is God's voice in me, and it is always here even when I am not listening.  I cultivate that stillness by believing in it and taking time to be still, ie, be quiet, be aware of me, be present, listen to me.  I am aware of being in the world but not of it, that is be in the busy world without being consumed by it and continue to have an awarene  See full.

What comes to my mind in reading this piece and "be still to recognize what is always here" is the quote from Scripture "Be still and know that I am God," about which I have reflected much.  My reflection has included the following:: Be still and know that I (ie, me, David) am God, meaning that I am a projection and expression of God, a projection that is only a very tiny speck of a projection of God but is unique and significant, so it is important for me to recognize, allow, accept, listen closely to, and cherish what I hear in listening to my I (not my ego but my inner self and voice).  That inner I is an expression of God, is God's voice in me, and it is always here even when I am not listening.  I cultivate that stillness by believing in it and taking time to be still, ie, be quiet, be aware of me, be present, listen to me.  I am aware of being in the world but not of it, that is be in the busy world without being consumed by it and continue to have an awareness of and listening to my inner self, though the truth is I much too often am in the world and of it as I get distracted from paying attention to my inner self.  As for a personal experience, I have moments and maybe a few minutes when I am present and still and listening to my inner experience, and those are special, alive, satisfying moments if alone or with another.  I can have more. 

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On May 24, 2013 susan schaller wrote:

 "Be still simply to recognize what is..., who you are" triggered a memory of moving and living in England when I had to simply be me, including having an American accent.  Accepting myself and being the best I could be included not reacting to others' reactions.  In that daily exercise, there was some disengagement, a realization of simply being regardless of the immediate environment and stimuli. Being still is related to letting go of the illusion of control. I need to remind myself that what is in others' heads is none of my business and what is in the future is none of my business.  My job is to simply be, let go of the past and the future, and just be still.  I'm grateful for this reminder.



1 reply: Rose | Post Your Reply
On May 24, 2013 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

 Occasionally I'll get a brief experience of stopping and finding stillness but it does not last very long.  I am reminded of a monk named Thomas Keating who said: "God's first language is silence.  All else is a poor translation."  Being silent can at times help one be still as being still can help one be silent. when I realized I know very little, I believe I am spiritual and simultaneously mundane. I have changed to the point where I now think the mundane is often  spiritual/divine.  Trying to be spiritual may at times cause me to not see that we are already spiritual even while being mundane. This can be done without trying. For me the word peace is more primitive than happiness and I think I can be peaceful while not being always happy.. Being at ease is being peaceful.  Thank you for the opportunity to respond.  Warm and kind regards to everyone and may all beings be at ease.