Six Types of Inner Stillness

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at the topic of stillness and how we can cultivate it, both in general and specifically in meditation. Even when we are busy, there is  a certain stillness present in each moment of our life that we can tap into if we know how!

For those interested in the Meditations for Connecting to the Greenworldworkshop, a quick reminder that the early bird price is still available up until this Thursday 6th February.

Finally, I’ve placed a sample feedback from a 1:1 coaching client beneath the article below, just to give those who may be interested an idea of the sort of experiences and results that come from the sort of coaching work that I do with people.

Yours in the spirit of stillness,

Toby


Classes For February at Integral Meditation Asia:

Thursday 13th February, 7.30-8.30pm: Advanced and Intermediate Integral Meditation Class and Coaching

Sunday 23rd February, 2.30-6pm: Meditations for Connecting to the Green World – An Introduction to the Path of Nature Mysticism

Tuesday 25th February, 7.30-8.30pm: Monthly Meditation Skills Class and Coaching Session


Six Types of Inner Stillness

We talk about meditation as a way of stilling the mind, but how many different types of stillness are there? Like the proverbial cake you can cut stillness up in different ways, but here are six that I find experientially useful.
The first three can be experienced and cultivated by anyone, the second three take a little bit of work in meditation to get a handle on, but they are worth being aware of even if you aren’t quite there yet, so that when you do get there you can recognize them!

  1. Stillness after activity – This is the stillness that we notice when we cease doing a busy activity, or when we pause in between tasks during the day. Normally we experience these stillness’s as incidental and perhaps don’t pay them much attention, just going onto the next activity. However by acknowledging these spaces and relaxing into them when they occur, we can actually increase our daily experience of stillness quite dramatically without any extra effort.
  2. The stillness we find in landscape – When we sit outside with the sky above us and a landscape around us, even if there is activity in that landscape there is a space of stillness that comes from simply becoming aware of an extended horizon around us, the solidity of the earth beneath us, the life of the world around us and the space of the sky above us. Just sitting in the still point within these four aspects of our surroundings.
  3. The stillness between thoughts – You could also call this the stillness that arises from the absence of thoughts. We connect to this mental stillness by simply noticing the spaces in between our thoughts, relaxing into them and extending them. When we become good at this we create a space in our mind where there is an relaxed, open stillness undisturbed by thoughts.
  4. Luminous stillness – This is a stillness that comes from resting in the experience of stillness for a while in meditation. If for example you were to rest in the stillness between thoughts for a time there starts to be a feeling within the body initially, then the mind, of bliss and light. The quality of the stillness becomes an stillness pervaded by a tangible energy of bliss in the body and mind. It is a kind of living stillness. Needless to say this is very relaxing and regenerative.
  5. Primal stillness – This is an experience of stillness that lies beyond luminous stillness. When the physical and mental bliss subsides you are left with a primal experience of stillness where you feel you are in an ‘empty’ place, outside of time and space. (See stage three of the five levels of meditation practice).
  6. Non-dual stillness – This type of stillness simply means that you have gotten to a stage where you can recognize and be partly resting in any one of the six types of stillness above whilst also engaged in some form of activity. So activity and stillness begin to come together to form a single, non-dual experience as you go about your life.

So, why cultivate stillness? I’d like to end this article with a quote from Herman Hesse that I think answers that question: “Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself”.
© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Sample feedback from Meditation and Shadow coaching client in 2014:

“The lovely, simple techniques you shared have enabled me to be honest with, and about, myself in such a way that is really liberating. I’ve been surprised at how quickly I’ve experienced the benefits….  I love the honesty and practicality of this process and the fact that it’s leading me towards a better understanding and acceptance of myself and ultimately (I hope) to tapping into my full creative potential – in whatever form that may take.”

Q: Would you recommend coaching with Toby to other people, and for what reason?
“Yes, definitely. You created a safe, supportive environment, were willing to share your own personal experiences, were able to listen and tune into what I was struggling to articulate. I felt like you allowed the sessions to take the form they needed to take rather than sticking to a pre-set formula, which was really helpful because it gave me the opportunity to share and ask questions without feeling that I was scuppering an agenda. The fact that you record the sessions is very helpful.”

Click HERE to find out more about Toby’s 1:1 Coaching Services

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