Why We Need Silence and Stillness - More Than Ever

Apr 23, 2020

Why We Need Silence and Stillness - More Than Ever

A theme I’ve been tracking during the pandemic is the capacity to shift perspectives back and forth from that of the ego and to a bigger picture, a deeper reality of what is unfolding. 

We need our ego to function in the world, but even at its best, the ego holds a limited world view.  At its worst, it’s fearful, self-interested and convinced it must have what it wants, and that it is alone and has to do it all on its own.  It holds a basic stance of “me against the world.”

The stress of coronavirus can really trigger that little ego. Its limited perspective hates uncertainty, loss of control, and even though it believes it is alone, it chafes at all the isolation – so little outer world interaction to prop up its fragile dynamic. 

I Just Want What I Want!

More than ever, we’re offered the opportunity to move beyond the demands and impositions of the ego. This time is so ripe with possibilities to establish our ground in something more sustaining. 

There are a hundred little ego deaths to be experienced, as life as we knew it is up-ended.  The ego isn’t going to have its way right now.  Over and over, we can practice surrender into these “living deaths” as one of my teachers, Kim Rosen calls them. 

And when we surrender what we discover is we don’t die. It’s a bit frustrating or uncomfortable – or as another teacher names it - we experience inconvenient feelings.  Through this process, we can be enlivened.  We discover the demands of the little ego don’t bring us life – they are quite restricting and deadening. 

Dying the Little Deaths

This dance of ego demands and surrender goes on moment to moment.  It’s our ability to extract ourselves from the minutia of it and witness the process that makes the difference.  In this practice, we learn about the ego and its limitations and with each “little death” find life.

The Practice of Silence and Stillness

The practice of silence and stillness in retreat or in daily meditative spaces, itself supports such growth.  Silence and stillness are tried and true ways to access the inner realm.  In the process of maintaining retreat space, we tame the little ego who doesn’t like the restrictions of both.  So hence in retreat, we set an intentional practice to confront the ego’s demands and limited mindset.

It’s interesting to notice that in this time of the pandemic, as we’re forced to take a collective pause, how bringing intentionality to the restrictions can make such a world of difference.  Rather than enforced stillness or silence, we can choose to enter it, to discover the discernable difference.

We can do silence and stillness alone, but sometimes it’s helpful to have some structure in the stillness and silence – I call this supported silence.  It’s always sometimes supportive to do retreat in the company of other committed people, to hold an energetic container for going deeper in.

If these ideas pique an interest in you, e-mail me to find out more. 

 

 

Next entry: Resist the Draw to Inertia

Previous entry: Be in the world, but not of the world.

"Excellent teaching style of concrete information and experiential exercises"

Workshop attendee