To Be Still

By Banafshé Eshragi


When looking at the concept of stillness, on the surface it seems to be a passive way of experiencing life – especially in the fast-paced world that we live in today. Even the word itself suggests a stagnant existence because the concept has often not been properly explained. I imagine that most people think that in order to be still, one has to shut off everything going on inside in order to “go with the flow,” which isn’t true at all. When you travel below the surface, you understand that stillness is about actively quieting your judgmental filters, your impulse to react without analyzing, and your emotional defensiveness in a situation. Instead, you can choose to observe and open up your other senses of understanding and empathy (sometimes for yourself), and if you listen, you can hear your own breath. It is through stillness that you can begin a journey of self-discovery and you can begin to make decisions that are founded by love instead of fear. It’s very much like the connection that’s created by your breath between your body and your mind when practicing yoga. Interestingly, Savasana (Corpse Pose) is one of the hardest positions for most people to hold; this society hasn’t taught us the importance of listening to what is not loudly communicated to us, or how to connect to ourselves.

The breath is beautiful and it communicates so much to us about how we are feeling, both physically and mentally, if we choose to listen. I’m not sure who gave me this advice, or if it’s something that I have gradually learned through my own experiences. I would be lying if I said that I always remember this feeling when I’m going through a difficult time, but the moments that I do remember, I sense a growth within me that’s one of the sweetest feelings I’ve ever experienced. I feel grateful to my breath for keeping me alive, for allowing my heart to continuously beat, and for giving life to each hard-working cell in my body. Life can be about a lot of great things, like family, food, traveling, relationships, career goals, all depending on what’s most important for a person, and it’s necessary to appreciate all of them. Having said that, I think it’s important to remember that when it comes down to it, it all begins and ends with our breath, and becoming still once in a while can help us remember that.