September has arrived. A time of transition. A time to start new things. Fall type things. If you are like me, you may have a tendency to really want to get things rolling, to start all those things you were thinking about, planning, or putting off during the Summer. Time to DO, DO, DO! Let's get things moving y'all! However, since I am a wise yoga teacher (sarcasm), I know that this is exactly the time to emphasize the practice of Stillness. In the stillness lies the field of all possibilities. Action is limited, Stillness is unlimited. It is necessary to go beyond the turbulence of your own mind to connect with the universal mind, the mind of nature. This happens in stillness. It is here that the ball gets rolling. It is here that the seed of your intention is planted and the seemingly chaotic universe starts to plan for the manifestation of your intention. It is not by DOING, but rather by NOT doing that things get done. What? You might say to me, "you are doing something right now, you are writing this blog post. Is the universe writing this blog post?" And to that I reply, "you're right, I am writing this blog post, but my intention of sharing the teachings of yoga through writing was released in the place of stillness. So instead of staring at my computer thinkin' up ways to talk about Stillness, I sit at my computer and words flow with effortless ease." Think of it this way. If your mind is a still pond, the smallest stone tossed into it would create a ripple. If your mind is a turbulent ocean, you could throw the Empire State Building in there and not recognize it. Stillness calms your mind enough to allow you to notice the ripples, to pay attention to the ideas, opportunities and teachings that life is throwing into your pond. I like this metaphor. I got it from my friend Deepak Chopra (he doesn't know we're friends).
I agree that it is necessary to DO things, but it is also necessary to make a commitment to sit still and INTEND things, ALLOW things, RECEIVE things. There exists, always and everywhere, a beautiful balance of movement and stillness. My friend Dr. Chopra states that the "exquisite combination of silent, unbounded, infinite mind along with dynamic, bounded, individual mind is the perfect balance of stillness and movement simultaneously that can create whatever you want." This perfect balance of movement and stillness is abundantly clear in the practice of Yoga. There is plenty of action in yoga, plenty of doing. All those sun salutations, poses, special breathing exercises, etc. are all DOING type things. But there are essential moments of stillness-sitting still with your breath, meditating, practicing savasana (the relaxation pose at the end of practice where you actually receive all the benefits of your practice), the spaces in between poses, even the time DURING poses when you are completely still and present. It would not be yoga without stillness. I think stillness is easily overlooked. We seem to have adopted the slogan "The more you do, the better". I always try to emphasize moments of stillness in my classes. I try to emphasize moments of stillness in my life as well.
So as you embark on this September 2009 and notice yourself getting wrapped up in the do-ness of it all, I invite you to make a commitment to stillness. Stillness in your yoga practice and stillness in your life. Who knows? Maybe things will start to flow more easily and the DOING parts of your life will seem less like doing and more like joy and ease.
"Wherever you go in the midst of movement and activity, carry your stillness with you."