Stillness in Action

Posted on October 8, 2014

There is formal meditation and stillness in action. Meditation is a core skill; if we make it a daily habit, it will soon be a constant source of rejuvenation and peace. Before long we won’t want to miss even a single day of our practice. But to practice stillness, one doesn’t necessarily have to sit still. Stillness comes from clear and peaceful awareness, not simply from lack of movement. Most people experience moments of stillness in action when they are doing some activity they love. When our actions come from the heart, everything we do is part of our spiritual practice.

One of my favorite ways to experience stillness in action is through sculpting. As my fingers work with the clay, my thoughts take a vacation. In this type of activity, the thinking mind would merely get in the way. There is a deeper intelligence that runs the show very well. I see and feel in my sculptures what is being birthed in myself—a sense of order, beauty, warmth, and insight, reality experienced with a clear and untroubled mind. When I sculpt images of Indian deities—the elephant-headed Ganesha, the majestic grandeur of Shiva, the warm presence of the Divine Mother—these deities come alive for me. They are symbols of the enlightened mind, of deep wisdom, of the ways the human soul has expressed the mystery of divine love.

As the sculptures come to life in my hands, I feel blessed by the life they are giving me. All action can be like this. Making a sculpture is not different from doing the dishes, driving a car, sorting through papers, discussing a project, or turning a screwdriver. We are always creative. To the extent we are present in the here and now, we live in the great peace that gives birth to all action, even while performing everyday chores. Stillness helps us to be aware.

When we attune ourselves to stillness, we can get in touch with the heart.

Once we can sense stillness in what we love, we can learn to love whatever we do. We can find stillness while jogging, working, cooking, or cleaning. We can remember to enjoy stillness in the middle of a conversation, when waiting in line, or while paying our bills. Just like space, stillness is always present. It means to stay centered in that silent space in the heart. Maintaining an awareness of stillness is an act of devotion in which everything we do becomes sacred.

As we cultivate an awareness of stillness, the old unconscious ties to our suffering loosen and the pain body dissolves. Stillness means to become more self-aware. Stillness is peace.

What would happen to our habitual dramas if stillness permeated our mind? Who would we be if we were internally peaceful and present during our normal activities? Do we really function better when we are driven by worries and wants, deadlines and commitments, or when we act out of the clarity that comes from inner peace? The answers are obvious, but to overcome the mind’s unconscious addiction to turmoil, intellectual insight alone is not enough. It has to become gut-level realization. Practicing stillness can take us there.

Stillness is everywhere; we can sense it if we take the time to tune in. It makes our old negative habits transparent and they will cease to control us as much. As we pass through a valley, moments of stillness can remind us of the peace and harmony of past peak experiences. They will be more than a memory; we will feel them again as they encourage and strengthen us and put us back in touch with who we really are.


Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.

– Rumi

– taken from Ramgiri’s book “HeartSourcing: Finding Our Way to Love and Liberation.”

with love, Ramgiri

HeartSourcing Yoga

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