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Stillness

"The place of stillness that you have to go to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world." -Jonathan Franzen-

I want to become still enough to hear myself. I always wanted that. I don't think I have been to this place very often yet.
My Self is not that constant stream of comments and words running through my mind, I fear, even when I am asleep. I often wake up so exhausted, that I am pretty sure, thoughts have been rushing through my head all night long. Like a herd of very young, very wild horses. That is not My Self. My Self lives much deeper, under all those layers of protective tissue, much much deeper. It is this stillness, in which I connect with everything that matters. This Everything has not so much to do with the demands of my everyday life. Then again: it has everything to do with my everyday life and its demands.
Everything is about love.
Everything is about knowing what matters.
Everything is about becoming still.
Everything is about opening my heart.
I waste too much time on Facebook, on mails I do not even want to get, but those are minor wastes compared to the huge amount of energy and time I invest in two things: getting wound up in the lifes of other people (which can take the form of gossip but has other forms as well) and making plans for the next million moments instead of just being in the one at hand, right now.
I actually believe I could straight go into a pretty impressive state of enlightenment if I could stop these two habits:

1. Other people. Nobody believes how bad other people behave all the time, how often they treat me wrong, how often they hurt my feelings. And if they do not hurt me, they for sure do anything wrong in their own lifes, so I have to get upset about them and worry my head off about solutions for their problems.
To complain about other people is a habit I inherited from my mother. She cultivated it to an extreme I am sure I will not master in this life. Her stream of words, not just in her head but to the outside world, consisted of not much more but complaints about other people, for decades, actually for all those decades I have known her. I think she must have hurt a lot all her life. She started this stream of words before my conscious memory set in. With my first consciousness I dived right into this already existing stream. I started my first diary mostly out of the necessity to cope with my mothers complaints, which she freely shared with me every day. My room was really small. When she entered with this stream of words running out of her mouth into my little room, within seconds I felt I could not breathe anymore. The room was filled with negativity. So one of the first sentences I wrote in my first diary was: "Mother, please be still!"
To complain about others is a wonderful way to keep away from your Self, your true feelings, the deep hurt you are suffering, the here and now. As long as you have gossip and complaints to spread you don't have to engage with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world. In fact: you even have people to point your finger at because they are personally responsible for the unmanageableness of your world. They hurt you, they behave wrong, your world would be great without them, or at least without their behaviour. If they could change everything would be, well: perfect, basically.
2. The second thing, my stream of words is about is: all those things I should and could and would be doing if I hadn't to do, what I am doing at the moment. So when I am reading a book, part of my consciousness is already watering the flowers on the balcony, opening my notebook to check on Facebook, writing in my diary about my day and/or my mother, going to the groceryshop to get some milk....I don't think I spend much time in the moment really. I am basically always elsewhere, and usually I am in several locations at the same time. Multitasking genius that I am!
My mind is very busy, always. I must say this has not gotten any better since I discovered Facebook. My attention span has become even shorter. Yesterday, when I was actually at my desk to revise some of my poems, I found myself thirty minutes later listening to President Obama's speech about the senates' decision against background checks for people who want to buy a gun via internet. Not that this speech and the whole subject isn't from high value and interest, but of course within seconds I had been on a different planet, totally distracted from what I wanted to do initially (revising my poems), far away from my writing, my self and frankly: I did not know on what exact path I had gotten from my writing to Obama. On other days it has been this quality, that made me write a good poem, because on my distracted path through the offerings of for example Facebook or lets just say: the world, I found something that inspired me so deeply, that I entered a state of concentration not so ususal for me and wrote my soul out.
Still: My ideal is what Agnes Martin spoke about here, in this video I posted a few weeks ago. I want to be able to be still, alone and concentrated, turning my back to the outside world, to my thoughts about it, so that I hear myself, my deep self, my beloved and loving self, I want to dive into my inner stillness, so that the best things feel free to come to me.

© Susanne Becker

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