When was the last time you had that moment? You know the moment when you stop trying and find stillness and peace.
The place we inhabit when an old friend laughs at your every joke, you see a beautiful sunset at the beach with the waves are crashing in, or hear the sound that only rain can make when it pours in the countryside. We have all felt it, the stillness, the focus without thoughts. And, although it may be short in time, there is a sense that time has stood still.
Then, sadly, it ends. Insecurity that comes with self-awareness demands our minds to engage and with it a coursing sensation of anxiety and fear. But, I do not mean to sound negative because, let’s face it, this is just life, right? We can’t hold onto those moments or can we?
Don’t Wait to Be at a Beach to Be
What happened that allowed us to access a moment of stillness? Why are we able to shut down the doubts, fears, and negative self-talk and find a perfect state of harmony? And, how can we have those moments when a beach is not an option?
Self-awareness is really a double-edged sword. Yes, it saves us from the embarrassing social moment at a dinner party when we may have a breadcrumb stuck to our upper lip. But, doesn’t social awareness turn from helpful reminders of cultural norms to simple self-abuse? We want to fit into society and then stop before self-awareness turns inward and judges everything we are.
Over and over, we have been shown that we are attracted to raw authenticity. Mick Jagger has never been known for his dazzling good looks, but his swagger is legendary. So, I say, dress the role, be mindful of others, and remember that little piece of bread at the next dinner party. And, after you have checked off the social boxes, forget self-awareness and find your swagger.
Sit back as if the you are at the beach after the perfect sunset with a best friend laughing as you run through a rainstorm even if you are sitting in a conference room with that guy who is always rude, in traffic for hours, or on a first date that is not going well.
I had forgotten what it meant to be me. Over several years, I have found that space again. The moment at the beach is you. That silent, non-verbal place is where you reside. I know it is not logical, and I cannot point to it, nor can we prove it in double-blind trial, but everyone who is anyone knows it is real. T.S Eliot even won a Nobel Award for attempting to put it into words. I will not try, since I think he said it best. But, I will say that you have been there, “the still point” and finding yourself is as simple as returning to that place, the silent still space, and allowing all of life to flow from this endless place, otherwise known as you.
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.5
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.” T.S. Eliot