Stillness As a Verb
Today is the Autumnal Equinox, or Harvest Moon- a point in time where the Earth's axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. Balanced, spinning like a top, our Earth goes about her business as usual. There are many religious traditions that celebrate the Harvest Moon, but I've taken to creating my own rituals of meditation, reflection and full moon yoga.
This year, my reflections rest on concepts of creating a balance or inner peace despite never-ending fluctuations. In his book Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Erich Schiffmann writes:
"Stillness is like a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. It appears this way not because it isn't moving, but because it's spinning at full speed. Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action."
Maybe you can relate to the topsy-turvy feeling you get towards the end of a jam-packed summer? The constant motion becomes habitual but the mind is no longer fully participating as you operate on autopilot. Schiffmann's suggestion of stillness as an action resonates because no amount of seclusion or hiding will stop the flux- not internally, not externally. The lesson is in learning to readjust your axis and keep living. Just like our Earth, I keep spinning. One day centered, off kilter the next, aiming not for perfection but to be aware of each action and thought.
So how to create your own stillness? Take a cue from Mother Nature and slow down the pace. For me that means letting go of a super-charged vinyasa practice and stepping into a soothing, slower yin-inspired style of yoga. It also means re-committing to a regular meditation practice that brings mindfulness to each amazing moment as I live and breathe it. Think quality of mind over quantity of mind-stuff and let your equinox happen.
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