Our world has become an increasingly busy place. There is a strong pull to fill up our days and hours with something to do. I was employed in plenty of workplaces over the years that put a price tag on your every action. In call centre work there was a button on your phone you had to push if you wanted to go to the toilet. That button took you out of the call queue until you went back to your desk and reactivated your phone. At the end of each month statistics would be calculated regarding how many calls you had taken, how long you had spent on each call and how long you had spent away from your desk in the bathroom. Each living breathing human being was reduced to a block of numbers which your Manager had to interpret in terms of your productivity. I was often pulled up on how long I was taking to deal with calls from customers. I was usually taking, on average, a good five minutes when I supposed to be aiming for two and half.
In other work environments I was berated for leaving work on official knock-off time while others stayed back for at least another hour or so. One manager begrudgingly paid me for my time when I was working eighteen hour days in the lead up to an event. They saw the dollar figure first and not the blood, sweat and tears I was putting into my job.
I did a lot of temping work in the year before I left Sydney, usually for companies who were trying to fill a vacant position. Increasingly I saw job descriptions that called for the skills to cover up to three different roles whilst only being paid for one. Businesses wanted their money’s worth. If a person doing that role only lasted two to three years under that kind of pressure, they were replaceable. There was a long line of others who were willing to put their hand up for the stress and strain.
I never enjoyed those types of jobs. I felt shackled to the desk when I was desperate for freedom. I loved the days when I could work in a creative way with my friends. I would jump out of bed on those mornings and arrive an hour early filled with enthusiasm and ideas. We would spend the day writing, filming, editing, creating new ideas and the time would be zapped away. I remember looking at the clock in disbelief that it was late afternoon already. It was that kind of productivity that I loved. The opportunity to feel my inspiration, to create.
However my creative endeavours did not pay the bills so I would soon be pulled back into the rat race.
Because I was working in jobs I hated, I felt the need to utilise my time outside work to the fullest and it soon became filled with social engagements. I enjoyed my friendships very much and tried to catch up with my friends as often as I could. My diary became filled with my scribbles about dinner with this friend, or drinks with that friend. An early morning coffee with someone or a trip to the cinema to watch a film. Then of course I needed to make time to shop for food or work clothes and maybe squeeze in a date with someone I had met on the internet. My life was full. Full to the brim. That was the way I had orchestrated it.
There was very little stillness and space in my life. I had always felt a yearning to discover more spiritually, so occasionally I would attend a Buddhist meditation retreat. The benefits would stay with me for a few weeks before they slowly started to fade and I was hell bent once again on filling up every minute of my day. When I say hell, I mean hell, because that was what I was experiencing a lot of the time. I would have moments of heaven in the company of my friends, or in being creative or being startled out of my mind and into my heart by a beautiful sunrise or a starry night sky, but they were fleeting moments.
We live in a world of machinery and gadgets that require recharging, yet we neglect to do it for ourselves. We don’t hesitate to put our laptops and phones on a charger when it is clear they are running out of battery, yet we do not take the time to recharge ourselves.
Stillness and space is the opportunity to do just that. It is the paring away of distractions to create the opportunity to feel our true selves again. To recharge with the connectedness to all things. To close the gap that the mind has formed by having us believe we need to be doing something to measure our worth. Most importantly, it the time to listen. The heart speaks in whispers. It is the original voice that never needed to compete as it was the only voice. The mind learns that who shouts loudest gets heard. So we go through our busy days with the countless streams of loud thoughts careering through our heads, competing for attention, and always demanding.
Our original voice does not make demands. It is gentle and loving and soft. It communicates through our feelings and when we give ourselves space and stillness, these feelings are subtle. When we ignore this beautiful language the subtlety is lost. The emotions get tied in with the thoughts and like a furious game of Ping-Pong, they fly back and forth. Our guidance system appears faulty as we endlessly question ‘what is right’ and never seem to get the answer.
I have made the commitment to meditate daily and so far, it is working out. First I found myself ‘doing’ the meditation, pushing myself to ensure I accomplished at least one session for the day. After a while I have noticed myself really looking forward to the meditation for the ‘beingness’ of the experience. It is time when I check in with myself. I am surprised at how I am now able to process any experiences I have had. It is like any issue I have is a small droplet in a delicate web. It has not been avoided or ignored, growing into something large, heavy and painful. It has not become regret, or resentment or blame. It is easy to dissolve it after focusing on it with love, awareness or forgiveness.
Seamus, I urge you to make time in your life to be still. To be and not do. This is an incredibly powerful tool because it is the direct link to the divine. You too are the divine and from the divine comes the potency of creation. From beingness, which is stillness, comes the inspiration to do, which is the action. We can easily get lost in the actions, believing that that is where the creativeness is. In fact, the creativeness is in the void and it gives birth to the action.
So my darling, find your stillness and observe the highest reflection of yourself. From that space you will understand the incredible potential of the divine within you. Then you will be free to be the creator and to see your wildest dreams and most intricate imaginings reveal themselves in your life.
“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness” – Eckhart Tolle