The Medicine of Stillness

This writing on the medicine of stillness has been updated from a previous writing posted on stillness a few months ago.  I hope you enjoy the additions as I deepen my own inquiry into the practice of stillness.

Being the last rhythm in the 5Rhythms®, stillness seems a contradiction in terms when considering this somatic movement practice. Even as we sleep like a log, the hearts beat on, our lungs expand and contact in our inner dance of life. But not much of anything is still, is it? If movement is life, then when things stop moving we expect death.

For me, the somatic energetic of stillness is fueled by my breath and kept alive and curious by the burning ember of life at the heart of the creative process. Like a beacon on a foggy night, it acts like a guide and mentor illuminating my path ahead. When I slow down and get quiet, I am inspired by the glow and warmness of this mysterious and magical ember. With each in-breath, I fan it to life, giving me the impulse and inspiration to move. As I rest in exhale my body arrives at a still-point, or what seems like a stillness-shape, only to take-up and catch the energy of my breath’s continuum.

As it is with me, I imagine, it can be with you and when we arrive into lyrical and transition into stillness we take what we have discovered so far and attempt to be with the mystery of its deeper teaching. We don’t judge it, we remain curious. And like lyrical we don’t dance stillness, as we are teachable and willing, we are stillness, as we seek the truth, long and thirst for wholeness or oneness with Spirit. We cease to be, and for a time, blend into Spirit connecting fully, taking-in its wisdom as a sponge drinks in water. We give ourselves over in absolute surrender and become an incarnation of the emptiness within us, which is God. Our moving shapes become a prayer for wisdom, compassion and inspiration. Somehow we imagine that our steps and the shapes we make resemble the tracks and outlines of a God. For a moment we seem to understand what’s behind everything and trust enough to dive beneath the surface of life to touch upon the source or great mystery of all things. In humility, we recognize we don’t really know these things, nor can we touch them. They are like a whisper that we don’t quite understand but recognize like images, as they dissolve with each out-breath. We realize that we have already inside us that which we seek without, that our journey of longing and seeking lays within.

In my physical practice of stillness, I might discover that when I stop, I feel my movement. I might discover that when I move, I am aware of my stillness. I touch only my feet on the solid ground as I commune in expanded space and time. I allow my breath to be my guild on this sacred journey in stillness. At the bottom of the breath I am present with the emptiness waiting for the inspiration to inhale. At the top of the breath I hold lightly to what is, as I welcome the shear pleasure of exhale.

It must become plain to all who practice this rhythm the simplicity, beauty and miraculous nature of the breath. In this place of stillness I find peace in the subtle nature of my breath-movements and I may discover that parts of myself have their own orbit around the sun. Somehow I have taken refuge within myself, within the emptiness. With this safe anchorage and connection to Spirit, I let go of all my attempts at impressing the world and discover that I am not extraordinary, but that in my plainness, I am more dazzling and amazing than ever.

Scotty Lewis

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