If stillness is hard for you, there’s a reason for that.
Stillness is in opposition to the way we are used to living- filling every moment with stimulation and information, earning our worth through busyness, achievement, accumulation. We’ve been trained to trade time for money. Achievement for worthiness. We live in a culture that tells us that we aren’t enough, good enough, thin enough, fast enough, smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough. That we must earn our worth. That our value is something to be bought – either by cash or by the currency of achievement.
We’ve been conditioned into committed consumers, identifying who we are by what we have produced or purchased. We’ve mistaken products for a personality and productivity for purpose. We’ve been set in a race against ourselves, running in hot pursuit of perfectionism, busting our asses to get to a finish line that doesn’t exist.
The truth is that productivity and consumption are profitable to many. And addictive to most (always chasing our next hit of worthiness). So there is no incentive, no permission, to stop, to slow down, to prioritize time over money and health over wealth. We feed the machine, (and our habit) by staying on the hamster wheel – keep busy, stay hustling.
And so, it’s unsurprising that we resist stillness. That quietude and spaciousness make us fidget. That we reject any endeavour with intangible outcomes, much less one that delivers us squarely into contentedness and peace, no strings attached.
Stillness feels dangerous because it’s the undoing of our misunderstanding that perfectionism and productivity are pathways to happiness. (Ironically, those are the very things make us miserable.)
In this way, stillness (and meditation in particular) is an act of rebellion. It is activism against a culture that has perpetuated speed, productivity, perfectionism, and results, at all costs. “Just” being still and quiet with ourselves is an act of rebellion against the things that make us miserable, sick, exhausted, and broken. Stillness is a way of rewilding ourselves. Of shaking free of the “civilized” cultural constructs that keep us from our inner knowing, our inner wisdom and our inherent wholeness. All the “doing” in the world doesn’t do that. Just “being” is the thing that frees us.
So if you want to stand up against the culture of busyness, productivity and perfectionism, sit the F down. Rebel with a pause.