by Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle’s writings on the power of living in the moment fast became the most sought-after modern classic on spiritual enlightenment. Now, in this new life-transforming book, we are shown how to become our true selves by embracing silence and stillness. When we are no longer limited by our thinking mind, suffering and pain disappears and we are able to move towards a new understanding of our relationships, of nature, and of the profound wisdom that is to be found in stillness.
Silence and Stillness
Stillness is your essential nature. What is stillness? The inner space or awareness in which the words on this page are being perceived and become thoughts. Without that awareness, there would be no perception, no thoughts, no world. You are that awareness, disguised as a person. When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.
The equivalent of external noise is the inner noise of thinking. The equivalent of external silence is inner stillness. Whenever there is some silence around you — listen to it. That means just notice it. Pay attention to it. Listening to silence awakens the dimension of stillness within yourself, because it is only through stillness that you can be aware of silence. See that in the moment of noticing the silence around you, you are not thinking. You are aware, but not thinking.
When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning. Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness. When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness. Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love. Silence is helpful, but you don’t need it in order to find stillness. Even when there is noise, you can be aware of the stillness underneath the noise, of the space in which the noise arises. That is the inner space of pure awareness, consciousness itself. You can become aware of awareness as the background to all your sense perceptions, all your thinking. Becoming aware of awareness is the arising of inner stillness.
Any disturbing noise can be as helpful as silence. How? By dropping your inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness. Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you are still, you are at peace. Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath. When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of “something” becomes — just awareness. The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form. True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found. Is stillness just the absence of noise and content? No, it is intelligence itself — the underlying consciousness out of which every form is born. And how could that be separate from who you are? The form that you think you are came out of that and is being sustained by it.
It is the essence of all galaxies and blades of grass; of all flowers, trees, birds, and all other forms. Stillness is the only thing in this world that has no form. But then, it is not really a thing, and it is not of this world. When you look at a tree or a human being in stillness, who is looking? Something deeper than the person. Consciousness is looking at its creation. In the Bible, it says that God created the world and saw that it was good. That is what you see when you look from stillness without thought. Do you need more knowledge? Is more information going to save the world, or faster computers, more scientific or intellectual analysis? Is it not wisdom that humanity needs most at this time? But what is wisdom and where is it to be found? Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.
Excerpted from Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle
source Soulful Living