We have a need, a relentless drive to constantly be on the move. As if “doing something” equates to being “someone.” When I teach yoga to those who are new to it, I tell them that the final pose, savasana or corpse pose, is probably one of the hardest poses for people. Not because it’s uncomfortable or physically demanding (it’s not either), but because you have to rest in stillness with your own mind. And for most people, that’s a very uncomfortable place.
So uncomfortable in fact, that we go through great pains to avoid actually sitting still. We are uncomfortable with long silences and suffer through “awkward” pauses. We constantly have to be actively busy and feel bad or lazy when we’re not. We are constantly looking for and working towards the next thing to give our lives meaning, never realizing that the meaning of our lives is found by resting in stillness.
We carry with us a deep underlying tension that feeds this incessant need to keep moving, to keep doing, to get to the next thing. We fall into the trap that constantly being busy means we’re doing something with our lives and that we’re happy, yet the lie is found in the inability to be with our own thoughts, our inability to face the tension that is telling us we are not satisfied in a deep and meaningful way. The tension that shows us the happiness from getting that “next thing” didn’t last.
We are a society suffering from a multitude of addictions that all fall under the category of “I’ll be happy when..” I’m not just talking about drinking or gambling or other avoidance addictions, but all the things we use to keep busy, to keep working towards some moment or some thing that will make us happy. “I’ll be happy when I find someone special, when I get married we buy a house we get a dog we have children we buy a new house…
We will never know lasting peace if we cannot sit still long enough to get past the busyness of dissatisfaction. It does not mean we won’t own a home and create a family, that we never “do” again and instead spend hours sitting in meditation (yet another form of keeping busy). It means that the more we experience the lasting peace of stillness, the more we realize that stillness is our natural state. The more truths we will see, the more authentic our words and actions become, the more authentic our lives become.
Awakening to our true nature is also awakening to this effortlessness in our actions. Houses get built, families are made, and life happens all without any need for us to make it happen. Living from that stillness at our center, that equanimity of spirit, we no longer react to our dissatisfaction by being busy, but instead we flow with life by being still.