The inner peace we feel or don’t feel in stillness, in our own company, in solitude, in quiet moments, reveals how our journey forward will unfold.
The good news is, if you are not at peace in moments of stillness, these moments of being, you can be. And you are you in the perfect spot to learn how to do so – TSLL blog. After all, that is the entire purpose of living a simply luxurious life, learning the skills and tools to live a life everyday that is grounded in true contentment. And if you already are at peace in moments of stillness, you have found your grounding calm, yes your ease of being, a feeling of true contentment. Because as Deepak Chopra teaches, “If you surrender to uncertainty, nothing goes wrong.” That may seem hyperbolic or even impossible as we all know life doesn’t unfold perfectly, but in fact, it does if we look at ‘perfectly’ through the lens of opportunity to grow, to understand and to strengthen our appreciation with every moment that we meet being fully present.
In terms of reality, we know we cannot know what tomorrow will bring, but part of our discontent when we are still is thinking we can control what tomorrow will bring. We never will. What we can and do have control over, as we have talked about many times here on TSLL, is ourselves – our thoughts, our words, our actions and how we respond (rather than react) to all that occurs that we don’t have control over outside of ourselves.
When we stop exhausting ourselves in our moments of stillness trying to predict, plan and imagine what tomorrow will bring, we can then just be at peace in the moment. It is in this attainment of peace that we have put the ego in its rightful place, not in the driver’s seat, but as a welcomed passenger who we have set boundaries with, because while it can be helpful at times, when it takes the wheel, peace is hard to find.
“Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you are still, you are at peace. As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear.” —Eckhart Tolle
Our quality of being is rooted in our ability to be still well. In Eckhart Tolle’s book Stillness Speaks, he reminds “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” And in order to know who you are, your true and most you self, you must find time to be still.
The opposite of knowing who you truly are will result in a restless and uncomfortable, even painful mode of travel through your everydays. Why? Eckart Tolle writes, “When you are unaware of that inner essence (i.e. who you are), in the end you always create misery . . . when you don’t know who you are, you create a mind-made self as a substitute for your beautiful divine being and cling to that fearful and needy self . . . protecting and enhancing that false sense of self then becomes your primary motivating force.” And while that pain is felt by those who don’t know themselves, it also results in pain they inflict on others.
But here is what I find to be wonderful news. Unlike chasing a goal which will always pull us away from the present moment as was shared in this post about intentions versus goals, once you find stillness to be a gift, once you finally cultivate a deeply nourishing way of being in your days and in your life, you will realize in those moments with clarity who you truly are. And realizing this and becoming comfortable with this, especially if you have become entrenched in the belief that doing is always better, being busy is always better, will then bring “you [to] realize that you don’t need time to be who you are.” Eckhart Tolle’s goes on to teach that “when you know who you truly are, there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself . . . that is the joy of Being—of being who you truly are.”
And when you know who you are. Who you are without all of the cultural and societal and projected-upon-you filters, you realize a power you had all along within you. And once you experience this deep inner peace, it is an ease of being in the world that you won’t let go because you know how discomfiting it is to not travel with this knowledge of yourself. You begin to let go of fear and are no longer hamstrung by desire, now being able to put each in its place and understand why each arises.
Many institutions use fear to ‘keep their people in line’, and in many capitalistic-driven societies, desire is used to influence behavior in a myriad of ways; however, Tolle reminds, “all fear is the fear of losing something and thereby becoming diminished and being less, and desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. These two movements obscure the fact that Being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already with you, now.” In other words, once you discover your true self, not only will you find a deep inner peace, you will no longer be limited or cowed or distracted by man-made distractions that lead you away or keep you away from honoring your true self and living in alignment with what nourishes you and enables you to contribute what you can uniquely give to the world because you know who you are and that cannot be taken away unless we now, no longer ignorantly, give it away.
So, the first step to deepening the quality of our being is to be still. And in more good news, stillness is not something that we need to search for or something we need to acquire.
Once we permit ourselves to be still, we might find ourselves entering into the cocoon phase of our journey. This cocoon phase is the third of four stages discussed in my latest book The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment (in concrete terms, in the epilogue of the book) we move through, should we courageously choose to do so, in order to reach and experience true contentment and lasting growth of any kind.
The cocoon phase is often literally a tucking ourselves away from the world. In some instances, we will eventually return to that world whatever it might be, but likely, we are either forever removed from it due to loss or ending of a relationship or shifting way from a particular career or a move that prompts us to live in a new town/country/home/etc. or choosing to step away from something we know no longer works and we have outgrown. I highly recommend reading the section of the epilogue that discusses what is internally going on and why it is called the cocoon phase. In some instances, we may not even know we are in the cocoon phase, but then upon reflection, we realize by choosing to find moments of more stillness, to find how to be comfortable in stillness, as we begin to learn more about ourselves and strip away the layers that were never or are no longer who we are, we come to recognize this as the cocoon phase.
Now the cocoon phase doesn’t just happen once in our life, so if you, like me, are well aware of what the cocoon phase is, you have insight into what is going on as you wrestle with newfound knowledge or the need to make changes as you have outgrown old ways of being that no longer nourish you. However, knowing you are in the cocoon phase doesn’t come with a guidebook, but knowing that you are in a stage of transformation that will reveal more peace in your life certainly brings a grounding ease of being as you move through this temporary, and it is always temporary, phase.
“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive…But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” —Haruki Murakami
Keep sitting with the discomfort as you become acquainted with stillness, and with consistency, you will find the discomfort eases, and as it melts away, it reveals ahas with clarity never before known. You begin to realize how the world reflects back to you what you put out into it. This is how your quality of being influences your quality of doing.
“Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.” —Eckhart Tolle
Once you are living with a deep peace in your moments of stillness, you begin to live and engage with the world with an inner strength that is guided by a deep awareness of each being’s humanity, and thus kindness and love are given while retaining your integrity (this is the beautiful paradox of exercising simultaneously strength and softness). You are no longer fighting the world, fearing the world or dreading or even dreaming! You are in the moment fully, both honoring your true self, dancing and learning and discovering and yes, delighting in the moment and all that there is to, dare I say, savor in this amazing life that you are living and are surrounded by.
So much of our discontent arises because we have not done the homework of becoming aware of our true selves and instead move with the tide of society, whether that be the news cycle, the zeitgeist’s latest must-do/have/be, or institutionalized expectations of “how life is”. When we realize true contentment can be experienced every single day, and how to reside in this mode of being, our doing offers more peace both to the world and of course to ourselves.
Our way of being will always foretell our way of doing, or going about and how we engage with life, but if you are not nourished by how you move/engage/experience the doing of life, perhaps it is time to examine your way of being, and then garner up the courage to move through the journey shared above.
Thank you for stopping by today and for pondering this week’s Monday Motivational topic. If the concept of true contentment has piqued your curiosity, I would like to share with you that coming in 2024, TSLL will be offering an online video Master Class course teaching step by step how to cultivate contentment in your unique one and only life. A linear approach that will enable you to go at your own pace and share specific tasks and assignments to ensure you understand the necessary tools to enable you to experience a life that brings you deep inner peace as you discover and then share what you can uniquely give to the world while you savor your everydays. More information will be shared here on the Courses page.