Photo: J.A.May Yellowstone Winter
With every intention of posting a specific article the first week of this month, something happened that kept me in a constant debate about what to post. Before I knew it we were into the middle of January and I have just now decided to share an extraordinary personal experience.
During the previous month of December I had been studying some coursework about the more esoteric meaning of The Holy Nights. I found all of this very moving and spent many a night immersed in something much greater than our day to day lives. In a sense, it was very elevating. Between this and my year end prayers for patients, friends and family it was a very internal time. And then something remarkable happened.
I woke up one Sunday morning and went about my usual morning routine… feed the dog, get dressed, organize for the day etc. Somewhere in all of that, I realized that there was a certain state of grace that was occurring. Everything felt fluid and thoughtful. Very measured. Oh do I love when I am in this flow.
But then another realization broke through, which was that there was NO thinking. No worry, no thoughts, nothing to occupy my mind. Absolutely nothing. As the day wore on it was as if I was in a state of suspension. Floating. But not in an ungrounded way. I was very present, very alert but incredibly peaceful. And very comfortable staying in this space.
I didn’t need to do much. Everything felt very fulfilling. I didn’t need to occupy myself with thoughts of food or eating, or what I should be doing. I could feel I was being nourished by something far greater than daily human needs or concerns. It was then that I realized that I was in a total STILLPOINT. There were a few times during the day I had to check if I was even breathing, everything was… well so deeply serene.
A stillpoint is a state that can be achieved with cranial sacral work. Very gentle work that disarms the parasympathetic system thus inducing a state of therapeutic standstill. The flight or fight responses of our nervous system is completely disarmed and a profound sense of peace and tranquility take place. It is like floating on a vast sea of serenity. If this sounds like Nirvana, it is. Ask anyone who has ever experienced this work and they will tell you it is profound. A stillpoint with cranial sacral work can last minutes or longer. The longest I have ever experienced with a patient while working on them is 20 minutes.
But my stillpoint lasted for 24 hours. Until the next morning when the phone began to ring and certain demands were put upon me. I still felt this incredible state of grace but I also felt resentful of life pulling me into more of an “alarm” state. It was as if daily life was robbing me of my peace and sanctuary. Even more so I was living between two worlds. So the question was: How to remain in this deep peace while living in this world? I don’t know the answers but I am working on it. What has remained was this sense of calmness even when challenges have arisen. Ten days have passed and I am still experiencing this wonder. It has made me realize certain things even more clearly. I realized that in this state, there is a true “letting go”. When we have a problem we say “Let Go Let God”. Well that is easy to say and incredibly hard to do. How many of us can really let go of our problems? But in a stillpoint there is NO worry. It is a complete and total letting go.
And that by the way is when miracles happen.
We spend days, weeks and years trying to meditate ourselves into this state. We “head talk” ourselves into trying to relax, or rationalizing why we should not be upset, or worried or angry. We read self-help books, and continue to yearn for more peace in our lives. Yet this state of grace is something inherent in each and every one of us. I don’t know exactly how this was triggered in me. But I do know that I am irrevocably altered by it for the better. And I do know that I could not have achieved this state with all its gifts if I had not gotten off the merry go round of busy-ness during the holiday season. The days were short and I let go of certain expectations of what I should being doing during the holidays. I spent the first two weeks of December getting all the holiday gift hubbub taken care of and suddenly knew that this was the time to cultivate quiet and peace. What was not finished I let go of. I went to bed early. I said “No” to all but the most meaningful events that were important to me. I merged with the quietness of living in a snowbound environment. I let the deep inward peace of the season pervade my days. I was FULLY PRESENT, and I could experienced this deep presence tangibly. It was all of this and more, that’s seemed to lead me to this breakthrough.
So what does this all of this mean? It means that without space we cannot find our peace. Without quiet we cannot find our grace. Without eliminating distraction(s) we continue to stray far from our truest needs and nature. And most of all we fail to commit to the cultivation of our own personal sanctuary. Without this there is no regeneration, no contentedness, no equanimity and no connection to something incredibly vast, loving and so deeply sustaining.
I don’t know when this will happen again. The magical effects continue and I am committed to creating room for this kind of internal sanctuary in my life. And that it has become a priority. I am busier in some ways than before but I stop when I get intuitive promptings. I wish the same for you. Life has become so tumultuous with our global state of affairs, our national state of affairs, our political state of affairs our environmental state of affairs… need I go on? The amount of chaos individually and collectively now is staggering. But there is a way through it all. And that is to commit to passionately finding your place of sanctuary. From that place the answers come. I wish for all us that we can craft a life of deep meaning with a connection to something so tremendously sustaining outside of our daily routines.
This is how we endure. This is how we rise. And this is how we evolve.