About Stillness

Books available to purchase

The Empty Chair and The Feminine Principle, (a little book of aphorisms) are still available to purchase from Barbara, Mike's wife directly. Contact Barbara

Audio version of The Empty Chair

The English audio version of his book 'The Empty Chair' can be ordered through Ryan Hallford's website

Stillness is not something that we do. It is being, being at the centre of our true selves. This still centre is in all of us; we share that with the Universe itself. This place, in the stillness of the centre is dynamic. "At the still-point of the turning world.....there the dance is". T.S.Eliot. There is no suffering in stillness. There is an end to suffering in the reconnection with the centre. The function of healing therefore is to re-establish in the stillness.

Rapture by Barbara BoxhallOriginal watercolour by Barbara Boxhall


In practical terms, what we know about another is limited by the framework of our own experience. That is to say, our knowledge is ego-bound. As I do not know everything (and never can as the everything that is to be known is continually expanding at the speed of light), then the bit that I do know is a fixation, a limitation.

As a deduction from this, as I hold a lesion at the edge of resistance, I cease to work holistically and for that moment am engaged in a reductionist intervention, thus limiting by the intention the connection with the Being as a whole.

At first sight, no doubt, this seems anarchic, even destructive but it is not meant to be so. I will try to explain. We talked briefly above about the concept of stillness. We now need to go a bit deeper into this.

Most of the time, for most of us, the mind is in a state of continual rabbiting. It is through this rabbiting that we achieve our sense of identity, know who we are. Not to know who we are or to be in mental space without our normal frame of reference in terms of our identity is pretty terrifying. As with the vortex of shock, to dive headlong into the bottom of the whirlpool (where it is still), is not helpful. We may never get out! It is important to enter stillness with a line back to the mundane. This line, this Ariadne's thread, is on the one hand a well established and solid sense of self and on the other a solid framework of training. With these prerequisites, I believe it is possible to be secure in one's acceptance of one's insecurity and just let go.

Why? Why should we want to do this? I need to talk about appropriateness. We get the kind of work we are open to-by and large and I have no qualitative judgement on the kind that any one of us gets. I do not know anyone who is doing inferior work. The mind , the body and the spirit are one thing, to work with one is to work with the other two. To work consciously with the Spirit however, may need a slightly different mind-set to working consciously with the body etc. I propose that the Spirit is not subject to the ego and that to work with the Spirit it is necessary to work transpersonally. (For the purpose of this article, "trans" is taken as meaning across or beyond and "personal" is taken as meaning of the ego). We need to be in that still place in ourselves which is right in the heart of awareness but with no sense of object or subject.

As there is no object or subject, there is no differentiation. What arises into awareness is the relationship. Another way of putting this would be that a mirroring takes place. As long as we hold that level of awareness, so long is the mirroring taking place at the level of stillness. Where there is no suffering. This I call getting in touch, and from this getting in touch arises the possibility for remembering who we meant to be.

As there is no awareness of, just awareness, pure and simple, there will be no awareness of being in this place whilst one is in it. Only on emergence to a more day to day level. You do not know where you have been till you come back.

There is no difference between this work and meditation. It is joint practice. The outcome is the opportunity of a different and better adapted way of being, less subject to the patternings of yesterday, or at least, a better way of being with the suffering.

The heart of this work is doing nothing, just being in awareness and accepting, completely without judgement or reaction, whatever we are being shown. The deeper intelligence that is so vast in the human being, on being reminded through the mirroring, knows what it needs to do. This, I believe is what Sutherland meant by "Rely upon the Tide." Once we have a well established ego to start with, let us get it out of the way and just remain in stillness! Everything arises from stillness.

16 March 1999.