I am sometimes aware – unfortunately, or at least with a measure of judgment and disappointment – of an inner-atmosphere that is not exactly compassionate or accepting. Sometimes my attempts to sit in stillness end up in an appalled “STILL????!!!!”. “I am STILL worried about this? triggered by this? Spinning THAT thought round and round and round???” No specific words, really. More of an impatience with myself, a frustration and feeling of discouragement.
The place of “STILL???!!!!” is a place of absolutes. A place of “always” and “never”. A place of harsh judgments. “I’ll never get this right.” “I always overreact.” “This will never be ok”. It is a place of duality -- of black OR white, right OR wrong. It is a place that is caught in time – which makes no sense. Just as holding ourselves in impatience and disapproval makes no sense.
I suppose that tough standards for ourselves are the result of a need for safety. In our humanity, we do our best to survive and feel safe – even if it means self-betrayal. We do whatever we feel we need to do to be accepted and cared for. Bringing those tough standards and unconscious beliefs to consciousness is not always easy. On a deep level, we still believe that our survival depends upon that belief we’re holding on to. When we try to shed light on the unconscious beliefs, the old, original, irrational fears can be triggered. We fear for our very survival.
I imagine it’s like a glitch on a hard drive that causes quirks in a computer. We can function in the world, but are sometimes quirky. We do what we need to do but are, perhaps, dissatisfied. Some unconscious beliefs are far more destructive and keep us from experiencing basic happiness or a sense of connection with life itself.
How do we transform “STILL?????!!!!!” to still? To stillness. Peace. Acceptance. Compassion.
I believe Rumi expresses it beautifully:
Rumi - Guest House
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently
sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.