Sitting still is NOT about being atop a sunny warm hillside wearing light breezy clothing enjoying a beautiful sunset with your beloved by your side. That is actually called living in the moment. Because that moment is awesome. And it's easy to enjoy awesome moments.
Sitting still happens when you're on top of the same hillside sitting atop jagged rocks with thistles poking through your one-size-too-small skinny jeans and a paper thin tank-top in 40 degree temps with sideways wind and rain soaking you to the bone. And by the way you're alone weathering this storm.
To put it really simply, that is exactly what this skill is about; weathering the storm. And it is a skill meaning you CAN develop it. Which is good news because if you think you are NOT a person who could EVER sit still, be assured, all it takes is practice, patience and a good teacher.
What does learning to sit still have to do with weathering the storm?
Well, in the face of an absolutely horrible situation, how do you cope? Can you "sit still" and manage the onslaught of uncomfortable, even intolerable conditions out of your control or do you fidget and fight constantly? Do you have pretend fights in your head with whoever you feel is to blame or do you cruelly blame yourself? Maybe it's really bad and you overreact and jump right off the rocky cliff! Sure this is a metaphor but it's an apt one for dealing with the day to day "weather" of life. Because shit gets stormy.
And day to day is the accumulation of little storms that result in migraines, panic attacks and tummy aches. One glass of spilled milk at breakfast might not set you over the edge but a hundred glasses over the day might just push you over.
Learning to sit still sure doesn't sound exciting or sexy, but it has made my life a whole lot smoother and richer. Here are 7 reasons that will make you want to google the nearest meditation class and starting learning how.
You are an excellent dental patient.
Braces, cavities, wisdom teeth removal; I've been through it all. (Except root canals please lord never one of those thank you.) When I was a young child (when they were more liberal with the administration of laughing gas) I couldn't feel the pain. Today things are different and I am an excellent dental patient because I know how to sit through those horribly uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful procedures (without chewing out my dentist, literally).
You will have better car insurance rates.
Can you resist checking Facebook at a red light? When you're waiting for the President's motorcade to pass by (this happens in DC ALL THE TIME) can you just turn off your car and think, "eh, I'll get there when I get there." Can you let that text really wait? Learn to sit still and you'll have less road rage, traffic induced stress and traffic accidents.
Your relationships will be richer.
Learning to sit still teaches you to listen to all the stuff in your head without having to DO anything about it; fix, control, judge. Because after all, they're just thoughts - most should be left to drift away. When you learn to listen to the thought traffic in your head, you learn to listen without having to DO anything. And you become a better listener to your friends. Then you'll understand them better. And then you'll feel more connected with them. And they'll like you for listening. And that all feels good.
More people will like you.
No one likes chronic knee-bouncers.
You'll have less sick days.
By sitting still and in general feeling more calm through day-to-day storms, your overall stress levels will be lower which allows your body to focus on important things like fighting off colds, healing injuries and digesting your food. Your more prone to illness if you are constantly battling an imaginary grizzly bear.
You can do acupuncture.
My friend said he can't do acupuncture. Those little tingly needles made him all fidgety. That stinks. For more refer back to #1.
You have no mo FOMO.
We can thank good ole technology for the rise in this phenomenon called Fear Of Missing Out. It's a specialized version of anxiety when a person is afraid they will regret not being a part of something going on somewhere else. Learning to identify feelings as they arise without having to DO something about them (like thoughts, see #3) is the key to helping them dissipate. Sit still and meditate and eventually there will be no mo FOMO.