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Day 56: Seeking Stillness

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” -Hermann Hesse

I had never given much thought to the care and attention of my central nervous system until recently. Like most of us, I just assumed that it was one of the systems in the body that automatically reset and essentially managed itself. I didn’t link the behaviors like the tapping foot, bouncy knee, distracted mental focus or wiry energy to the health of my central nervous system. It’s odd, really how little care and attention we give to this most primary functional system of the body.

Our central nervous system is one of the first functions to appear in the opaque field of potential life in the earliest days after conception. It shows up as a primitive streak, the basis of all form and function that the new life form holds. In its earliest incarnation it is a vibrating center axis, the original experience of stillness, which is literally the foundation of our life form.

Interestingly every living thing has a midline of stillness. A primitive streak that is the vibrating inner core of being. In the practice of midline meditation this place is referred to as dynamic stillness. Thinking of a meditation practice in biological terms is grounding and real, because beyond all practice of mindfulness, the weight of our viscera, the experience of the body carries the truth.

Learning to settle into my body through my midline has been extraordinary. Entering through the top of the head and feeling the midline of the body beginning in the brain and ending at the tailbone is deeper than relaxation. It is like re-inhabiting my center. It has given me an experience of stillness that I had not previously known. When you get this quiet in your core, there is no other time than the present and the idea of being a receiver instead of a transmitter in the world has a felt experience.

I have been lucky enough to experience this meditation instruction a few times with a wise teacher and a diverse, vital group of people seeking stillness in themselves. There is nothing esoteric about it, I realize as days pass and my connection to the learning slips away. My connection to my insides fades and my central nervous system overdrive takes over.

I have been asking the teacher for a CD of the practice so I can find and maintain the stillness myself. I will make sure you all know where to get it as soon as it is available.

“Through return to simple living comes control of desires. In control of desires Stillness is attained. In stillness the world is restored.” -Lao Tzu