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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Be Active or Be Still, But Be You

A Still Afternoon

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Seuss

Some would say, and it is something I adhere to, that being busy and not sitting still for too long is the key to health. Indeed, apply this to the brain's thought processes, and it can give us a healthy outlook, too.

However, being still, as opposed to being inactive or stagnant, has its benefits.

For example, when we take a moment to reflect, and step back to view a situation, we can learn to defend ourselves in the right way. We can take the advantage over an aggressor by first showing restraint to listen and try to work out where they are coming from, or when they respond with anger, to remain calm and maintain our balance while they lose theirs. I call that a state of neutrality.

In moments of reflection, we can also assess ourselves, and those good people we have chosen to call into our close circles. It is then we have the opportunity to realise that if we want to know who we are, we can look at our friends. And if the people that surround us are all people we can be proud of, then we are not only blessed, but we can take pride in ourselves, as well.

Balancing both these aspects means we have a healthy amount of self-respect, but one that is checked by keeping ourselves open to constructive criticism without taking offence, and applying restraint even if the criticism is not so constructive.

From a place of stillness, we can hear what is important to us, directing us to what our soul wants and not necessarily what other people tell us they think we want. We start to understand that we need to simply be who we are, and follow our soul to watch miracles unfold in our lives - where we turn the impossible to I'm possible. No forcing, no making things happen by pushing through, however. That no longer works, at least not in a way that best serves our soul, our body or our planet.

When we listen to ourselves, we understand how important listening actually is, and so develop that empathy to be more ready to listen to others. The same works for respect, too, and love.

When we approach others from these perspectives, we don't even have to worry whether nicknames we might give one another are appropriate or not - they automatically will be, because words will be well spoken.

We can be who we are and say what we feel, well equipped for all responses.

To the most practical minds, all this may come off like a load of spiritual nonsense, and a little preachy. Oh sure, some might say, easier said than done. I practice what I preach, so I know first hand how difficult it is. However, take a moment to be still and think about it and it might just make sense.

And, although it might sound like utopia, while being still can benefit us, being still together could benefit our world.

Being You, Together

It doesn't take a private detective to work out that, as much as the religions set up to praise God seem to be presently dividing our human race, practising a religion of stillness to appraise and praise our lives can unite us with our souls, and each other.

Even though I have commented that human hope must not be as fleeting as snow, the way snow can unite us in appreciating its beauty, and the need to stay warm, with the hope that spring is just around the corner is like the story of stillness. It can affect us in a universal way.

Truth is a religion of purity and union, too. Writer Samuel Clemens (a.k.a Mark Twain) is attributed with the quote, "Tell the truth to only those worthy of it", but I believe we are all worthy of being truthful to ourselves, our loved ones, and even those on opposites sides of the fence.

With governments more quick to grab a gun to resolve differences in current times, taking time, even a minute, to be still is a truth that is more important than ever - even when we get busy trying to change our world and ourselves for the better.

Picture "Still Afternoon" by Zhaoming Wu

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