We’re taught how to walk, how to dress, how to do calculus, but no one ever said, “Hey, this is how to sit still with your thoughts.”
I know that I never had the pleasure of learning stillness. It wasn’t until my 23rd birthday that it seemed almost necessary for my survival to learn how to sit with myself. I could feel deep down that something was off. An unsettled feeling followed me everywhere, even in my dreams. Thankfully, a moment of inspiration came and I set off to India to complete my yoga teacher training. I’m thankful every day for my time spent meditating in Rishikesh because it was where I learned how it felt to be still.
Meditation reveals this tree that lives inside of all of us. It can be any kind of tree you want – big, small, fruit-bearing, or bare – but it’s always firmly rooted. This tree is there for us to hold onto in all types of weather. This is how I like to describe stillness – a tree that roots us to the present moment, to what’s real, and to what matters.
Why is it important to learn stillness?
When you’re in a moment of stress, being told to sit still may seem counterintuitive. That’s because our “monkey-mind” swinging from branch to branch thinks that the answer is always at the next branch or maybe the branch we just left behind.
However, this state of mind puts our body into fight or flight mode, wreaking havoc on our nervous system, and increasing our stress.
Over time, this can be damaging to our mental and physical health.
Instead of swinging from branch to branch, try grabbing onto one branch pulling yourself up, and sitting for a while.
Being still combats stress by calming the nervous system and basically signals to the body that everything is okay. It’s a tool for comforting, grounding, and soothing ourselves.
What is stillness exactly?
Although the practice of stillness is seemingly simple, it is also wonderfully nuanced. There is no “one way” to experience stillness. Learning stillness does, however, take time to unwrap. It’s a muscle that strengthens with time and consistency. It’s a practice with ups and downs.
How Can Grow Still Help?
Neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain continues to mature throughout early adulthood. Neuropsychologists believe that it’s this brain development that contributes to the increased capabilities for critical thinking and abstract reasoning. We reduce our chances to grow into healthy-minded adults when we neglect this time period. Unfortunately, people in the “early adulthood” cohort, or as we like to call it “emerging adulthood”, are lacking in support from social services.
Not everyone can access the time and space to dedicate to learning stillness, combatting the effects of stress and neglect that can often occur during this time.
Grow Still was created in response to the lack of resources and support for young adults in the emerging adult population (ages 18-32). It aims to provide exactly what the name suggests – the resource and tools for participants to grow into stillness. This includes group meetups, peer mentoring, and more.
Written by Taylor Rodrigues, Marketing Manager @ Grow Still