“…I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts…”—Hebrews 8:10 KJV
No moving parts.
This is a theme that has run through me for a long time. I’ve always intuitively known that—though physical movement is crucial for human existence—internal movement wears us down mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So our aim should be to “move or die,” like the shark. But move as little as possible on the inside.
What do I mean by that?
A Magical Childhood Discovery
As a child, I discovered—as many, perhaps most children do—the magical power of internal observation. I clearly remember lying in bed one night, and just “looking” up with my eyes closed, just noticing the little internal lights dancing in front of me.
This was the first exposure I remember to what adults call “meditation.” I almost hate to put a name on this, because once I’ve named something, it will cause some readers to have a reaction to the word. Whereas they likely did not react to my description of the experience itself!
Is this you? If so, I understand.
Another time, I remember looking out the window at the sky, and noticing the cells in front of my vision. If I were to look sharply in a certain direction, they would move quickly with the direction change, then once I stopped the eye movement, the cells would move lazily back in the opposite direction.
I noticed the same thing when I’d lie out at the beach after coming out of the water.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Breathing Discovery in the Pool
My parents had several above-ground pools. We always called them “Doughboy” pools, and I just looked up the term and realized this is a pool manufacturer that is still around! Good for them!
In any case, I remember doing experiments like walking around the inner edge of the pool until I caused serious water momentum, then reversing the circle and fighting the force of the moving water. If you’ve had an above-ground pool, particularly a circular one, you can likely relate.
I liked to test my lung power, as so many kids do, by holding my breath under water for time. I was a skinny enough kid to sink to the bottom, and I’d instinctively stop moving so as to not use up energy and lung power. But I’d also stop thinking, and just observe myself in the water. I also instinctively knew that mental activity used up energy too.
I’d go to the doctor for a “physical,” and remember the cold stethoscope on my chest. But I also remember the total internal relaxation I experienced while our kindly family doctor checked my blood pressure, and how I instinctively knew that relaxation contributed to my low/normal reading.
I know that meditation is all the rage these days. And what I’ve been describing could be considered simple forms of meditation. It really doesn’t matter what you want to call what I would call simple observation, or stillness.
I have gone on to learn various techniques of meditation, but the funny thing is, I always return to simple observation. I am not saying that I did not experience benefits from some of these techniques, nevertheless, I’ve always returned to simplicity.
I believe it was my friend Jesse who once said that, “Meditation is NOT a technique.” He was right to say that, because I do believe there is something sacred about simple observation, and I do not believe our Creator would require a technique to reach Him.
God (famously) said “Be still, and know that I am God.” He did not say, “Do an exercise!” “Knowing” is not an exercise! It takes no movement!
“Mechanics” of Stillness?
I know and know of “teachers” of meditation, and I have no axe to grind with them (unless they’re teaching hypnotic techniques, which actually reduce objectivity). But for me, I keep coming back to simple stillness. Yes, I close my eyes, but that helps me to pay attention to what is happening inside me, and it helps me to see inner light. And yes, I typically touch my fingertips together in prayer fashion, because I can feel the transference of internal energy through the fingertips. But these days that’s about as far as I go “mechanically.” I am still, and feel the anchoring of my body, while I notice the internal light and the thoughts, musical sounds, etc. that run through my head. That’s pretty simple.
In a religious sense, I consider this prayer, as I am listening to the promptings of my Creator.
“But isn’t this about health?”
Stillness IS health! Everything begins with stillness. The universe itself started with stillness!
When we are still, our consciousness is at its highest. We can see with more clarity—both inside ourselves and into the external world. We can see how much of life—especially in the modern world—is sights, sounds, injustices and opinions that tempt us to react emotionally. This brings improved mental, emotional, spiritual—and yes, physical health—to us, if we are willing to see who we actually are.
I have used stillness with clients to help them find improved overall health. I demonstrate it in my Greek Yoga for Beginners video.
If you want a “magic bullet” toward greater overall health and happiness, look no further than the simple art of stillness. In this world of hyped-up “solutions” to your issues, simple stillness offers the most value of all.
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. Its focus is natural health and independent living. Patrick is the author of GREEK PHYSIQUE: The Simple, Satisfying Way to Sculpt Your Body—Even if You’re Old, Weak, or Broken Down; and is also the creator of Greek Yoga™ and the Greek Yoga for Beginners video. He offers health and fitness consulting in-person in Middle Tennessee and worldwide via phone, Zoom, and Skype. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].