This is not an invitation to not be human. It is an invitation to discover what gives your humanness its life.
For most of us, the possibility of simply resting in the stillness of our being has been unheard of, especially with the influence of modern technology: radio, TV, Internet, etc. On the radio there is even an idea that you shouldn’t have “dead air.” It is thought that to be quiet is to be dead. But the point of being quiet is so that what is alive, what is true, what is always here, can reveal itself.
We aren’t always successful in bringing the mind to quietness, but at least in receiving the invitation to be quiet for a few moments, there is the possibility that you can see the formless presence of being that is always quietly here. Startlingly, you can also recognize that this formless presence of being doesn't come into being just when you sit still. It is here when you are active, when you are agitated, and when you are in places that you love or places that you’d rather not be. This truth of being is always here, and it effortlessly reveals itself whenever you stop following your thoughts and give your attention to it alone.
Thoughts are not wrong. Thoughts will definitely appear. We are thinking creatures. But whenever you can become aware that you are automatically following thought upon thought, you have the choice to come back to stillness. Let yourself simply be.
When I met my teacher, Papaji, and he told me to be still, I thought I knew what that meant. But when I showed him my version of being still, he said, “No, not that. Don't do being still. Simply be still.” No one had ever said that to me with the same transmission as Papaji. I found that I was actually afraid to be still, because somewhere in the organization of my mind and my body, to be still meant to die. To be still meant to be caught, to stop working to survive. Stillness felt like a threat to life as I had known it.
It was a moment of choice. I could either continue doing my imitation of stillness, or I could actually discover stillness. If death were to come for me, then so be it. In that willingness I discovered that stillness is not death; it is an exquisite expansion of consciousness recognizing itself as consciousness. It is a preparation for both true life and death.
The invitation to be still is an invitation to meet death before you die. To stop doing what you are conditioned to think you have to do or to be in order to live. Certainly, we have to find food and shelter. If bombs and bullets are aimed at us, we have to hide or run or fight back. But being still in this moment, without a thought of living the next moment, you have the direct possibility of discovering the truth of life itself.
I am not recommending that you live a life that is always in meditative stillness. This is not an invitation to not be human. It is an invitation to discover what gives your humaneness its life. While you are alive in this form, you can discover that the source of your life is always here as the deepest truth of who you are. With great delight you can recognize that on some level you have actually always been aware of this pristine conscious beingness. It has just been shoved to the background of your consciousness, or to the side, or buried underneath some other concern. Certainly, you have always been aware of yourself as being, yet your focus has most likely been on the particulars of being rather than beingness itself.
Just for a few moments let yourself very simply be. Then when the usual activities of life take up their forward motion once again, you can investigate: In either good moments or in distressing moments, does the true stillness of my being ever really go anywhere?
The invitation to be still reveals that you have a choice. The supreme choice to discover the truth of who you are. In stillness you can explore for yourself, in the deepest sense, what is here in this stillness? What is always here? Then when you are active, you can inquire if what was here when you were still is still here when circumstances change. Is here-ness always here? Is it present in grief? In joy?
It is time to come home to yourself, to rest in the stillness of yourself. Let yourself be the peace and the love that you are.
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.