“Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.” – ECKHART TOLLE
I think it’s easy to respond to this quote in a “Yeah, yeah… I get it,” kind of way. Most people probably think they ‘slow down’ lots. They read a book or watch tv, or even stop and take moments to look at nature, or to smile and take in the moment – lots. But do they truly slow down, and not just observe but be 100% present in that very moment. So this means, not worrying about what’s coming next or relying on something in the future to bring you happiness.
“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one.”
But instead, acknowledge that this moment is all you have and will never ‘be’ again. Go as far as to be aware of your breathing, and step out of your busy mind and busy life. It’s such a simple act, and can bring so much health, happiness, clarity and relief from stress-filled thinking. I often think of the following quote from Tolle when I need to regroup or ground myself:
“Be aware of your breathing. Notice how this takes attention away from your thinking and creates space.”
In that space is where you find stillness. To me, stillness is about being comfortable in your own skin – so much so, that you can stay there. When you allow yourself to be in moments like this, this is when true strength and wellness arises. And I’m not even talking about sitting down for a 20 minute meditation. I often feel more rejuvenated and energized from taking ‘brain break’ moments then I would if I took a nap. So instead of it being a ‘yeah, yeah’ moment where you feel like you’ve given yourself a nice break because you slowed down to watch some birds, try to get lost in the moment. Let go of your story line and welcome the space. Even though nature is probably one of the best teachers of getting in this space, stillness doesn’t have to only happen in nature:
“When you wash your hands, when you make a cup of coffee, when you’re waiting for the elevator – instead of indulging in thinking, these are all opportunities for being there as a still, alert presence.”
So the next time you’re in line for a coffee and motion to pull out your phone to scan social media, don’t. Just be present. Breathe. Observe. And smile. You may find the happiness, clarity and energy that comes to you is stronger and longer lasting than any coffee could ever provide.
NOTE All quotes by Eckhart Tolle. I highly recommend his book ‘The Power of Now’. I like to pick it up when I’m feeling overwhelmed for a little reminder about how easy it is to overlook our ability to bring a calm and stillness to our lives and how easy it is to access these tools.