From Stillness to Clarity

Stillness can lead to clarity.

Photo by Geranimo on Unsplash

Stillness can lead to clarity. My yoga teacher mentioned stillness and clarity as he encouraged us to hold a pose. The more I thought about this idea, I realized that you can reach stillness in many ways, actually being physically still is just one of them. 

I often think of my best ideas or solutions, when my mind is still but maybe not my body. Stillness can be interpreted in many ways. I recently saw a funny advertisement for a mattress where a person wakes up from a good night’s rest and exclaims, “I know where my passport is!” I don’t know if a good mattress or one night’s sleep can bring you this much clarity but I have experienced moments of clarity when I feel stillness. 

Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity

Lao Tzu

I define stillness as more than being physically still. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary stillness is defined as “a state of freedom from storm or disturbance.” I interpret this as a stillness of the mind, a time in which the mind experiences a sense of freedom. To me, stillness can be achieved in many ways and is not always paired with stillness in the body. Of course, you can achieve stillness of the mind with a still body such as in seated meditation. Some of my coaching clients say that they find this stillness of the mind that leads to clarity through running, hiking, and other types of movement. When do you find moments of stillness in the mind that lead to clarity?

Some tips to move from stillness to clarity:

  • Find an activity that you enjoy and brings you calm. It could be a walk outside, a run, climbing, skiing, yoga, cooking, knitting, or any activity that brings you moments of peace and that brings you joy. 
  • You might notice your breathing becoming steady. Focusing on your breath can bring sillness to the mind.
  • Observe your thoughts as they come and go. It might be best to do this unplugged. Try not to judge yourself or your thoughts. Just let them enter and leave your mind. You can label your thoughts. For example, planning, complaining, worrying. Just say these words as the thoughts come and go.
  • As you keep practicing this awareness and labeling, you will likely reach a stillness of the mind and sometimes this stillness of the mind can lead to clarity around one of those thoughts.

This type of practice to move from stillness of the mind to clarity of the mind takes just that, lots of practice. Next time you are taking a walk with your dog, try to find that stillness in your mind and wait for those moments of clarity. Maybe you too will find your missing passport or a small taste of freedom!