In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, cultivating stillness can greatly benefit our mental and emotional well-being. Stillness lets us quiet our minds, reduce stress, and connect with our inner selves. We can find greater clarity, focus, and peace by prioritizing moments of stillness in our lives.
The Stoics, a school of Greek philosophy, believed in the power of stillness. They saw it as a way to cultivate inner peace and resilience in the face of adversity. For them, stillness was not just a physical state, but a mental one as well.
The Stoics believed that by practicing stillness, one could develop a sense of detachment from external events and emotions. This detachment allowed them to maintain a sense of calm in the face of difficult situations. By accepting what was outside of their control, they could focus on what they could control: their own thoughts and actions.
One of the key practices of the Stoics was meditation. They believed that by focusing on their breathing and clearing their mind, they could achieve a state of inner peace. This practice allowed them to cultivate a sense of self-awareness and introspection, which helped them to better understand their own emotions and reactions.
Another practice that the Stoics used to cultivate stillness was journaling. They believed that by reflecting on their experiences and writing about them, they could gain a better understanding of themselves and their place in the world. This practice also helped them to develop a sense of perspective and gratitude for the things they had in their lives.
Overall, the Stoics saw stillness as a way to develop resilience, inner peace, and a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. While their practices may seem simple, they offer powerful tools for anyone seeking to cultivate these qualities in their own lives.
Science has finally caught up to what spiritual practitioners have been teaching for centuries. In recent studies at MIT and Harvard, neuroscientists determined that regular meditation helps tune out distractions and relieve pain.
Research shows that meditation contributes to decreasing pain, decreasing stress, increasing social connectedness, making you more compassionate, and changing your brain for the better.
The Benefits of Meditation (Harvard & MIT Neuroscientists)
Nature, Wild Horses, & Stillness
Nature, in particular, has an awe-inspiring effect. Walking in nature with wild horses has connected my eyes to my heart and mind in a new way.
The natural beauty of wild horses in a peaceful and awe-inspiring landscape invites my mind into stillness. From that stillness as Lao Tzu says there comes a kind of wonder to which “the whole universe surrenders.”
When I see wild horses in nature, I am curious about them and I am open to learning from them. The complexity of the natural world does not overwhelm or demand attention the way the digital world can; it must be observed quietly and unobtrusively.
Metaphors abound in the natural world and another truth of Lao Tzu that “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” can be discerned.
We find peace in the natural rhythms. There is an activity in nature (and there must be for survival), but it is purposeful; though complex and often mysterious, directionality can be traced.
We need the stillness and rhythms of nature more than ever because many aspects of our lives are unsettled and precarious.
Like water that is agitated, hearts can feel equally unsettled. It reminds me of another line from Lao Tzu, “Let it be still and it will gradually become clear.”
I invite you to discover what brings you stillness within; maybe it is wild horses, walking in nature, or maybe something else, but I wonder if, like Lao Tzu, clarity will emerge from letting the many things settle within at a gentle but gradual pace.
I invite you to find internal space by entering a natural space and allowing it to speak to you. Every time I am with wild horses, they bring me peace and wonder. Stillness is not only a beneficial rest for the mind; it can be a spark of wonder to which “the whole universe surrenders.”