Modern man is so accustomed to his mind working constantly that he is unaware of what being still is like. Stillness does not mean that you completely become physically inactive. Instead, it is the process of ridding your mind of all the tumultuous thoughts so that it achieves a high level of clarity. Famous Zen Master Hongzhi Zhengjue used to say that “the practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection.”
Before you start thinking of how to be still, you must first understand why it is difficult to achieve stillness. Why does your mind constantly wander from one thought to another without any breaks? This has largely to do with one thing — your desires.
Your mind is filled with numerous unfulfilled desires. Maybe you want an expensive smartphone, the love of someone, the appreciation of your boss, some money to tide away for an emergency, and so on. Since all these needs are left unfulfilled, your mind will constantly be working toward finding ways to achieve them and worrying about what to do if you are not able to realize these desires. As such, the fewer desires you have, the more your mind will be uncluttered and better prepared to practice stillness.
People can achieve stillness of mind in various ways. One of the most popular methods is through meditative practices like yoga, Falun Dafa, mindfulness, and so on. These spiritual practices have been honed over thousands of years by great masters and are an excellent way to achieve stillness. Breathing in slowly and deeply can slow down the heart rate and help attain clarity of mind. Some people immerse themselves in soft music, with the sounds enchanting their mind and keeping it relaxed enough to attain stillness. Others spend time in nature. Surrounded by numerous trees, birds, waterfalls, etc., these people find it easier to reflect on life and other philosophical problems.
The important point of all these methods of attaining stillness is to remove all distractions from the mind. “Distractions may still be present, and you may be acutely aware of everything going on, but you reach a point of detachment. You gain the ability to be still in the midst of distractions. You are aware and alert, but not worried, anxious, or consumed by anything other than your present stillness of mind,” according to Hip Diggs.
When your mind has mastered the art of being still, you’ll start noticing some behavioral changes. First is that your mind will remain calm and composed no matter the situation. You can work under the most stressful conditions, but your mind will easily deal with the stress rather than being worried about it. This serene nature will allow you to make better decisions in both your personal and professional life. You will notice that your attachments to material things have begun to wane.
While earlier, you may have been too focused on acquiring something, say a 55 inch 4K TV, you will now be satisfied with the TV you have. This doesn’t mean that you will give up your desire for a new TV, but that you will not be mentally distressed about not owning it. Plus, you will also become less concerned about the negative attitude of other people. Since your mind is calm, you will seek out people who radiate positivity and make you happy. As such, toxic people will no longer have any influence over you.