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The Pleasure Principle

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Relational Stillness: Somatic Way in to Relational Presence

by Lee Glickstein

When you are right in the heart of your still center, you are a person around whom real magic can happen. ~Richard Rudd

I'd never been able to sit still. I was the squirmy kid in class, at the dinner table, in the office. I was diagnosed as hyperactive decades before ADD came along. Low-grade anxiety has been my constant companion and even as I type this I have a ball of Silly Putty on the desk that I work in my hand while thinking.

I entered adulthood with social anxiety and acute stage fright. Extensive psychotherapy helped but couldn't touch my antsy core. I'd heard forever that meditation was the key to inner peace and I studied with masters but have been unable to sustain a practice.

The idea of inner peace has always resonated with me, and considering all the wisdom out there about the transformational nature of stillness, I thought something was wrong with me for not being able to "get there."

The Workaround

What I discovered 25 years ago that exploded Speaking Circles into the world was that, though I may not be able to hold a space of stillness for myself, I can hold a place of stillness for you. I know exactly how to stop, drop, and make my soft steady gaze available to you, along with kind attention and no agenda. In service to you my mind stops racing, and if you can hold that space of stillness for me we can both relax into the warm bath of (what I now recognize to be) a co-meditative space of relational stillness.

That was my creative workaround that blossomed into Speaking Circles, where the listeners hold a receptive space of kind regard for each other for finite periods of time. The seminal practice of being only and always with one person at a time when up front came to be called Relational Presence.

In this intoxicating field of belonging, anxiety with groups simply dissolves. Today I am far more at ease in front of groups (the more the merrier) than when I am alone, like now, in front of my computer screen working my rosary beads of Silly Putty. Here are some of my favorite quotes about stillness - they work for relational stillness too!

My workaround, which had started as a simulation of social ease so I could "pass" in front of groups, had become a rich co-stillness practice.

Those with regular meditation (or other stillness) practices know well that joining stillness does not require effort since it is already there to drop into. These folks have found relational stillness to be the pleasurably co-creative version of the stillness they already know and love.

Stillness Partners

As I practice this ecstatic state with my stillness partner ReGina Concotelli, I can locate it in my body so have come to see it as a somatic way in to Relational Presence. Here is an 9-minute video of us exploring relational stillness from relational stillness. In this 2-camera shoot you can observe the quality of the listening.

 

 

 

Heaven and Hell

You may have heard the allegory about the difference between heaven and hell. In Hell, row after row of tables are laden with sumptuous food, but the people are moaning in hunger because they have a 5-foot long spoon strapped to their arm and are unable to bring the food to their mouth. In Heaven it's the same setup, but the people had learned to feed each other across the table.

This is a great metaphor for relational stillness! Just as the heavenly nourish each other across the table, in relational stillness we nourish each other with what humans most hunger for: kind listening from luminous receptivity.

So welcome to heaven and stay tuned as this ecstatic practice evolves.

Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. ~Lao Tzu

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Here are some of my favorite quotes about stillness:

Stillness is the ruler of movement. ~Lao Tzu

Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. ~Lao Tzu

You are never more essentially, more deeply yourself than when you are still. ~Eckhart Tolle

We're fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them. ~Ram Dass

Stillness is the ground of being and thus the ground of relating. ~Audrey Seymour

Stillness is not something to be achieved. It is the eternal and limitless space in which our bodies move, our thoughts occur. There is no "attaining" it. It is our natural state, the essence of who we are.
~Sheila Shuster

 

Within stillness is held unrecognized potential. Inherent in that which is quiet, still, and empty is the creative possibility of everything. All of the creativity that we experience arises out of that great mystery, that great stillness, that great void. ~Cheryl Haley

You need not do anything. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, just wait. You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still and solitary. And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. ~Franz Kafka

Be still and know who you are. ~Kirtana

Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. ~Hermann Hesse

Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain. ~Eckhart Tolle

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose. ~Indira Gandhi

Deep stillness always rests under an agitated mind. ~Jac O'Keeffe

Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen - that stillness becomes a radiance. ~Morgan Freeman

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. ~Eckhart Tolle

 

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. ~Eckhart Tolle

Stillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation. ~Eckhart Tolle

Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time. ~Brenda Ueland

Stillness is the fertile space out of which essential doing happens. ~Audrey Seymour

When you reside in that place of stillness, the joy, miracles, and magic you’re seeking will find you. ~Melodie Beattie

I am glad that so much movement happens in this stillness. ~Richard Land

Life is beauty in motion, but we can only appreciate it one tiny piece at a time, and only if we’re willing to find stillness within. ~Tiny Buddha

Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God. ~Ramana Maharshi

Once the stillness comes into your life, then the mind also becomes absolutely still. When your mind becomes still, your intelligence explodes. ~Jaggi Vasudev

Stillness is how the world will be transformed. ~Richard Rudd

Deep within your DNA, stillness is all there is. ~Richard Rudd

Stillness is not an icy lifeless world. On the contrary, stillness is bursting with potential and potency. ~Richard Rudd

The still person is so in harmony that he has merged into the background, and all of love moves through him. Stillness is effortless. It is beyond effortless. It is beyond frequency. It is beyond the mind. It is beyond understanding. ~Richard Rudd

True stillness releases hormones that silence thoughts. ~Richard Rudd

And not only do gaps open out between your thoughts, your emotional field is placated. An emotion rises up inside you as though in slow motion. It moves so slowly, you could reach out and touch it and turn it over in your hands before it breaks the surface. All your inward processes occur as though in slow motion. A feeling or a thought is like a precious penny dropped into a pond. You watch and marvel as it spreads throughout your chemistry and runs its course to dissolve once again into the stillness. Now there is only the breath, silently moving in, silently moving out, and the still point at the centre. ~Richard Rudd

When Stillness takes you, there is no more drama in your life. You observe it all from a distance, but there is no part of you that is interested in playing the game anymore. The stillness is too captivating. It wells up inside you, breaking over you in wave after wave, bringing such peace that you can no longer put anything into words. Stillness is in every cell, at the heart of your DNA, within the core of the atoms, where the mystery of the universe is constantly pouring through you. From within this stillness, activity naturally arises, and its only interest is to reach out and touch the stillness in others, in all things. Stillness sees only itself. It is the wellspring of joy, the font of bliss, the end of all seeking – it is that most magical of places – the place where everything meets at the end of the rainbow. ~Richard Rudd

And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words. In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence. ~Kahlil Gibran [Note from Lee: I like "Rhythmic silence" as an apt synonym for stillness.]

© Copyright 2013, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.

 

 

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