The Art of Stillness

By Chris Chittenden

"This is the age
Of the half-read page.
And the quick hash
And the mad dash.
The bright night
With the nerves tight.
The plane hop
With the brief stop.
The lamp tan
In a short span.
The Big Shot
In a good spot.
And the brain strain
The heart pain.
And the cat naps
Till the spring snaps --
And the fun's done!"

Sound familiar? Amazingly enough this poem was actually published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1949, under the title, "Time of the Mad Atom." It seems that for at least the last fifty-two years, human beings have had a sense of being rushed, and as a result stressed.

Another outcome that is not often spoken about is, that in this headlong dash through life, we are also losing our ability to get in touch with our intuition. Intuition can be best described as our hunches or instincts and one of its distinguishing features is that it lacks rational or logical thinking but nonetheless provides us with wisdom. What does this have to do with the pace of life?

Intuition can also be described as our inner listening and the pace of our life dictates how much time we will allocate to our inner listening. More often than not, our intuition fades into the background as we focus on the many activities that dominate our daily life. What we are missing out on here is the opportunity to tap into our inner wisdom. To explore questions about our lives that are more fundamental than our day to day experience. In other words to develop greater meaning in our life.

In their book Executive EQ, Robert Cooper and Ayman Sawaf say that "every time we ignore our instincts and our gut hunches - and miss and opportunity to ask a question, express a concern or seek a clarification, we pay for it." We pay for it because our intuition provides a means of tapping into ourselves and often this can provide us with answers that are much more aligned with what we truly want in life than if we just explore what is rational and logical. In other words, we can lead a much more fulfilling and enriched life.

So how do we do this? One way of tapping into our intuition is to take time out for ourselves. This can be done in a number of ways including meditation and other reflective activities. We recommend what we term a "stillness" activity where we sit and focus on our breathing and our physical being. By doing this activity on a regular basis combined with asking ourselves questions that we would like answered, answers come to us that we would not have otherwise uncovered. Somehow they just show up.

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© 2001 Chris Chittenden