The Art of Standing Still

It seems so easy: standing still.

Particularly with photography, standing still is crucial.

Here I am not only talking about the moment of standing still to actually take a picture with the camera.

But standing still well before the final act of pressing the button.

To really see it is necessary to come to a full stop, so we can stand still.

Physical speed

We simply often go too fast, whether we walk or drive.

We are going too fast to feel what touches us.

We simply go too fast to be able to let a resonance fully in.

Here I am not talking about extreme physical speed, like being in a sports modus.

A firm walking speed is already too fast to really see.

We do see, but in a conventional way.

Our eyes are open and we see just enough to know what it is.

We have just enough visual awareness to go from A to B and arrive safely.

Mental speed

Mental speed here means simply that we think too many thoughts.

We are fully mindful thinking about something, whatever, and not available with our visual attention.

Our eyes are open and we do not see much, because we are fully involved with having dialogues in ourselves with ourselves.

Mostly in the form of thinking about a conversation we have had with others, and going over it again, what we would have said differently.

We are having conversations within; with others and with ourselves. Within ourselves.

And we repeat this in endless variations, over and over.

And we experience the feelings, emotions and subsequent thoughts that  all this thinking brings about.

Completely absorbed within.

Another of putting it; we are totally attentive, we are very mindful, completely focussed inward.

We glide past the world

In physical and mental speed we barely touch our everyday world – we glide past it.

Our eyes are open but we hardly see.

In this speed our inherent tender heart is barely touched.

But, when we observe more up close, we are actually touched throughout the day, through the senses.

Because, between all thoughts there is a space.

A stream of thoughts is not seamless.

Between thoughts, when one thought has ended and the next has to start yet, there is a gap.

A brief moment of nothing happening.

In these gaps we experience moments of being struck by our everyday world, over and over.

Very briefly we are touched, but we simply do not notice it, or pay too little attention.

We are on our way to the next thought, the next location, the next meeting.

In speed we simply are not available.

Why stop and stand still?

Standing still gives the opportunity to land in the space between thoughts.

In the space of inner stillness.

This inner silence is the same space as the ‘gap’ – this space is not another new space.

Especially in the beginning of understanding the sense of gap, this is like a doorway into our inner spaciousness.

However we have not yet stabilized our inner stillness, and this is not in balance with being in action.

Standing still – on the street, in nature, in the house or somewhere in a hallway, anywhere – offers the opportunity to calm mental and physical speed.

 Mind the gap

Standing still is healthy!

Exercising is healthy, and standing still is healthy.

With the intention to stand still and visually be awake and more aware.

Standing still in this way becomes a practice.

It creates the opportunity to calm your body and to harmonize all kinds of physiological, neurological processes, and even cellular processes.

Breathing, heartbeat, muscle tensions, bowel movements etc. come to a rest and brain waves change.

If you regularly stop, stand still and look around with attention, patterns of stress and worrying are broken in that instant moment.

This has a positive effect on the body.

Standing still, sitting still and spending time with intention to visually be more aware is an easy way of calming, harmonizing and recharging.

You can do this anywhere at any time of the day.

Standing still with intention

With the intention to be available; to look with awake eyes, so we can truly see.

Seeing truly means:

  • we consciously apply visual awareness.
  • our heart is open.
  • our mind is available to notice what resonates from our direct surroundings.
  • our mind, heart and eyes are on the same axis.

How do we come to stop?

It seems so simple…!

However, what I regularly hear in the Miksang workshops from students when being out and about taking a break – and actually sitting down for a moment – is not always easy.

It all starts with willingness.

You have to have to be willing to come to a stop.

Because, coming to a full stop often goes against well-trained habits.

  • the habit of searching and wanting to find good pictures.
  • the habit of thinking that a good photo is somewhere else to be found.
  • the habit of feeling the pressure to accomplish.
  • the habit of having to arrive somewhere on time.
  • the habit to keep on walking when we already feel we are tired and in need of a break.

Allow yourself to stand still

Our body is highly intelligent and gives off signals, all the time.

  • Slow down – walk somewhat slower.
  • Notice when you feel it’s time to stop – don’t think about it but really notice it, and feel it
  • Follow up and stop. Stand still – right there, or look out for a nearby place, safe for you to stand still.

Drop the story

When looking around; release any arising story as soon as you experience a sensory experience.

  • Be fully present where you are.
  • Notice an experience of seeing something.
  • Feel the experience.
  • Stay with the experience. Until it dissolves naturally.

When engaged with looking and seeing, a story might arise, a thought might arise. And you find you may go along.

As soon as you notice this: drop the story.

Drop the story.

Drop the story.

Be still.

Lean in into your inner stillness – free of explanations, free of interpretations, free of conclusions and free of associations.

How do you actually do this?

Stand, or sit, somewhere where you feel safe.

  • Start with grounding, like:
  • Close your eyes, or keep them open.
  • Breath in and out, a few times, consciously. Until you feel more grounded in your belly and chest.
  • Listen to the sounds, feel the temperature, feel the wind.
  • Feel your feet on the earth.
  • Feel your whole body.
  • Visualize a perpendicular line through your spine; from your pelvis up to the crown of your head and back, until you feel longer and straightened.
  • Visualize a golden thread coming from your crown towards the sky and feel the expansion and spaciousness.
  • Feel you are the connection between heaven and earth, grounded, breathing, with your heart as the place to connect, the place of true creativity and expression.
  • Now open your eyes. Adjust, relax, and look around.
  • Observe, and let the visual experiences you experience fully in.

Be still.

There is only this moment

There is no other place or time where you need to be.

It is perfectly good where you are right now.

It is safe where you are.

You are exactly in the right place at the right time.

You have this moment.

You are in the here and now.

You are present, with open eyes.

You have only this moment.

There is only this moment.

The magic of standing still

Your senses open up.

Your heart opens.

You feel expansive and further softness comes in.

Beauty comes to you.

The art of standing still

This is what all successful Miksang photos show, from every Miksang practitioner.

The art of standing still and the unique resonance of seeing something out of the blue.

And letting it fully in.

From the heart, through the camera, through the photograph directly to another heart.


©Hèlen A Vink, August 18 2018