Both of those come from a deeply grounded, gentle, peaceful place. It’s a soft, quiet energy. Truthfully, I’m not often in this energy state. I’m often moving forward, growing, learning, pushing, goal setting, driving.
Even my posture reflects this momentum. I gesticulate with my hands and constantly lean forward. My centre of gravity sits above my toes, pushing me outward into the world. I can be fast thinking, a flurry of ideas, often fast talking. Snapping up all the world has to offer. Discombobulated energy. It’s fast and sparky and colourful and enthusiastic, but it’s also really loud up in here.
It’s why I am drawn to the people in my life who seem to have peace as their natural state. They don’t know it but I call them my Monks. I find myself settling into their energy level. New age types call it “vibration” or “auric fields.” Millenials call it “vibes.” Whatever language you prefer, right?
Have you ever noticed the posture of someone who walks with that quiet, gentle, grounded energy? You find yourself coming away from one of those interactions all “zen.” These people come in pastel and earthy colours. Even if you are standing talking to them, in your mind’s eye it is like they are relaxing back in a chair. They pause between words, thoughtfully contemplating everything and producing finished thoughts, which they have allowed to steep and develop before releasing them into the world.
When they talk.
I take in.
What they have to say.
How do they do it?
In 2018, I believe this is becoming a lost art, but it is one that we can practice and get back to. Shortly, I ‘m going to talk about what happens when you do this. It’s profound.
A quiet, slow, contemplative and mindful state is one that we can put ourselves into with a bit of work and a bit of practice. It’s not woo woo, it’s proper science.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. You can’t take away or create energy, but you can shift it.
Why did a “natural state” become a “lost art” that we have to carve out space for and practice? Why is mindfulness a movement and a technique that is taught instead of an innate way of being?
This is my theory: Though the internet has come with many gifts and it is a great advance for our civilization, it has its downsides, too.
When did life get so loud and fast and intense?
The internet has altered how we negotiate two planes of existence: The internal world (inside of us) and the external world (out there) that we go out and face each day.
Before technology, our internal world was ours. We were left to our own thoughts. The only encroachments on it came in a written, visual or auditory nature. Conversation. Music. Sound.
In the 1890s these encroachments took the form of a daily ritual of reading a newspaper, or visiting among friends. Those were parts of the day, but it was interspersed with activities that cultivate presence. Work moved only at the pace of technology for the time. There were also more opportunities for nature – which immerses us in silence, stillness and the present moment.
It is a little bit different in 2018, isnt it? It’s fast and loud. The external world is always there. It’s hard to separate IRL (in real life) versus IOB (in our brain) – I catch myself talking under my breath all of the time, and feel the flash of embarassment that my internal thoughts are bubbling out into the external world, that my brain somehow got the signals mixed.
The external world enters thousands of times a day via our rich environment of modern media and technology. Everyone (and everything) out there is shouting for our attention and we are listening. We unlock and access our phones a lot. Estimates vary from 80 times a day to 160 times a day. We peruse images on instagram. Many do not move us… we scroll on by. Many more do. I can’t even estimate how many photos I look at it in “a sesh.”
I can’t help but think that 100 years ago, their instagram was the art gallery. In 1900 someone would stand in contemplative silence and stillness in front of a painting, letting it percolate in their inner world and move them. We have art galleries in 2018 to be sure, but we move through them like an instagram feed and only briefly contemplate and let our own creativity arise – before we whip out our phone, take a photo, google, learn about it, share it and move back to the external world.
But it’s exciting and stimulating isn’t it, the external world? When I put my phone down, I am buzzing with thoughts and ideas. When I sat down to write this article, I thought about 3 other topics I wanted to write about. It took me a good 10 minutes to focus and get into the flow. Recently I’ve been trying to meditate in stillness and free write, and it’s been difficult letting inspiration bubble to the surface naturally, from the internal spring.
Simply put, the external world has more internal access points. It is shouting and clamouring for the greatest prize of all. Your attention. And we’re hooked! Its a thrill! We’re not walking to keep up with a handful of friends and family. We’re sprinting to keep up with 500+ followers.
When you scroll through your social media do you ever feel the congestion on a psychic level? It is a world that feels so loud once it passes through our eyes and ears, into our brain. We have less time to think and reflect, to steep in our own creativity and insight. We don’t let things spontaneously and naturally occur.
We’re so busy running around collecting outside ideas, thoughts and inspirations and pints for our pinterest boards.
As the outside world flows in with its heady energy, our inner world accelerates too, and we find ourselves managing, designing and controlling our lives at the same frenetic pace.
As I write, an image flashed in my mind. A money tunnel. You’ve probably seen them on game shows. People are placed inside a box, a fan turns on and you watch them grasp wildly at the money flying around them, delirious with excitment. It’s quite comedic.
Have you ever watched people and their strategies in money tunnels?
The ones that are successful are the ones that are smooth. They are in control of their energy and are grounded. They take a moment to assess and come up with some kind of creative strategy, struck with some internal inspiration. The ones that come out with barely anything are the ones who snatch wildly at everything, delirious with excitement and crazy energy.
Have you watched both types of people when the fan turns off and the air returns to stillness?
Both competitors want that money. The wild grabbers continue flailing, stuffing money in their shirts and dropping bills as they do so. They keep grappling urgently even when the buzzer sounds.
The smooth operators are different. Then know that when the fans turn off, the money will float down into their hands. It will come to them and they calmly catch even more.
It’s such a good metaphor for us when we begin to talk about what we’re all doing on this crazy planet anyways.
Take that quiet moment.
Carve out time to slow down, to settle down. For 30 seconds, or maybe for half an hour.
In that different place of energy, we are able to leave the external world for a bit and retreat inside ourselves.
True clarity and insight emerges when our inner worlds are unencumbered. Those lead us to precisely what we have been reaching for and trying to grab at in our external worlds.
In silence, we sweep out the clutter and we are left with simplicity and our true nature. It is there that we finally have the time and space to realize that everything is unfolding just as it should. That we can’t control the universe, we can’t rush it.
It is all unfolding on its own time.
Did you ever know of someone who was seeking/grabbing at/working at/ finding a potential partner, who came up fruitless and frustrated? Did you ever see the same friend give up, retreat backward and let go of their forward charge for a while? Did they stop trying to force the hand of fate? Did you ever see them meet the love of their life after they finally let go? We all know someone, don’t we?
You don’t squat down and ask a flower bulb to burst up out of the earth and flower this week ~ we don’t expect that. So it’s funny that we actually do that with ourselves, our own lives and the unfolding of what is to come. The external world totally gives us the impression that this is how we roll in life. To some extent, yes, you carve out your own path, but we must remember that returning quietly to the internal world also has its merit.
If you hold something deep in your heart, it will come to you of its own volition. You’re already set in motion things to bring it about, so let that urgency go.
Please know that you won’t be aware of the hints that things are coming, you won’t hear the little whispers of intuition, without the occasional space to do so in the quiet recesses of your mind.
The external world doesn’t have time for that shit .It is excited, noisy, forward pushing, demanding and energetic. It tells you that A leads to B which will get you to C.
You’ll miss the quiet whisper, that the person you met by chance at your local park is important for some reason. Turns out, they’re going to have a monumental impact on a career that you don’t even know is coming down the pipeline and is going to lead you to from A and B, through C to D, E and F. You’ll miss the little nudge of “I am drawn to this activity.” Without quiet space to feel that nudge, you won’t even know a new passion is unfolding for you that will beautifully combine A and B, and then create a G, H and I.
Practice the art of silence. Of slowing down. Of stepping away from the rat race of the external. Cultivate internal peace. Sweep out the clutter and just be. Let things come to you, and let things spring up from inside of you. See what emerges.