Finding The Way to Stillness Street…
Meditation is usually ridiculed & dismissed in modern society, well only in the Western world that is! TV & media has set the image of lone figures sat cross-legged, against backdrops of extreme natural beauty or some exquisite temple in utter silence. An alternative view is that it is probably one of the most unlikely ways one could think of to tackle the stress & constant worries of being homeless. Finding stillness within is not only for the privileged few, in fact quite the contrary. Nothing is needed!
We use our minds almost constantly to reason, calculate & imagine both positively & negatively. Even when we are asleep we are using our minds to dream, and so the very idea of detaching from our thoughts seems complicated (in fact many people make big business out of meditation through books, courses, holidays & so on!). In fact to experience stillness through simply observing the chatter of our minds but not involving or engaging can be done sitting, walking or in performing an everyday task.
Have you ever found yourself in a brief moment where there is a distinct lack of anything inwardly? Perhaps watching the setting sun or sitting by the riverside watching the ceaseless flow of water? That split second or moment when everything else in your life disappears including your essential identity, name, opinions, no past of future is a glimpse of what is essentially the fruits of meditation.
When I learned about meditation aged 8 I was too young to understand, but down the years I found it slowly became a natural part of my life & I was well-balanced. 25 years later I was in the worst, nightmarish mess of my life; homeless & the option of attending a meditation group or centre or having anywhere peaceful to be in meditative stillness seemed crazy. Though what I found by being in that very situation is that I actually managed to find that same space, the openness of the witness, free of mental pain despite all odds.
I would find that having no obvious purpose meant that surrendering the unhelpful tide of good, bad & indifferent thoughts was useful by breaking from the situational stresses. Practising awareness in the minutest & mundane details as all those busy people with their homes, jobs & families went blindly by me. I was as invisible to them as the problems in their lives were to me & yet I found comfort even with such great uncertainty. On paper my life was dismantled, waiting to be rebuilt slowly whenever I could find a home to call my own.
I didn’t have many places to sit in meditation then, but I remembered the principles of non-identification with any emotions except the timeless bliss of the rare glimpses meditating can give, a sort of bursting through into a wide open space within that is infinite. The answers were within me as much as they are inside you! No money, no job, mansion or fancy car required to get to ‘Stillness Street’, simply BE AS YOU ARE!
I grew up with meditation, as a non-religious family myself & my two older brothers were fortunate to be allowed to make up our own minds, we chose slightly differing paths but I am glad now that our parents credited us with enough intelligence to do so.
One thing we did acquire was to learn meditation (I think I was about 8-9 when I first went to learn) & the absence of any teaching or dogma didn’t strike me then, yet now I realize how important that would be in shaping my character & also later on in helping me manage my PCS.
One of our favourites was Osho a wonderfully wicked teacher from India, his jokes were legendary & he promoted self realisation & discovery, freedom of thought & joy in life as well as uncovering the truth of love…
Music has always been important to me & learning to play music was a golden opportunity to me as a child, I have kept that love with me always & I can barely imagine a life without it! I’ll share some of the most inspirational music I’ve found with you here :