How finding stillness in everyday life can show us the true magic of reality
By James Eke
From Warrior’s Way Podcast episode 115
One of the most important things we can learn through training is how to be still – how to actually understand and apply stillness. Stillness that isn’t just mimicking stillness.
Through stillness we start to see what is actually there.
This is one of the most important aspects of training and life that most people don’t even understand is there, have never been taught about and have no idea how to go about.
I’ve been training in martial arts alone for 40 years now – not that there is anything inherently special about that but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard comments from both students and teachers that stress that all that matters is fighting, learning new techniques, getting promoted, competing, winning, being a champion and any other multitude of things that are just external trappings. The reality though is none of that matters all that much or at least not as much as coming to an understanding of who you are – who you really are.
If being a champion matters the most what are you going to do with the rest of your life and the rest of your training when those days are well behind you?
If all that matters is learning to become the most devastating fighter who ever walked, how are you going to reconcile with the fact that all that you’ve lived in fantasy-land all your life and have actually no idea what a real fight is like?
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t train hard and strive to be the very best you can, however that rolls out for you. I spent years in my youth competing and loved the fun and competition. I always have trained for realism. The thing is, I also have been training in Zen just as much as the martial arts and especially when I hit 50 I have started to see the true potential and true need to take the most important aspects of training to their fullest.
Here is the thing. You can go to the gym. You can stand in front of the mirror in your expensive workout gear and do bicep curls and truly believe that you are getting into shape – and God bless you for it but those bicep curls alone are not doing you any good. In fact, just doing bicep curls without working all the rest of the arm – and the rest of your body even more just leads to imbalance and potential injury.
The way we spend our time training and our mindset for it is exactly the same.
If we believe ourselves to be serious about training and only focus on one aspect it leads to imbalance.
So what do we do then?
We need to train the physical body for sure. We are physical beings at the ground floor. We need to move. Through movement, through pushing ourselves we can start to find stillness.
I’m grateful for the hard Army training and tough old school martial arts I’ve had to endure. It sharpens the mind and puts you into a place where you can start to learn to quiet things down. This isn’t enough though.
What we need to do is also learn to unite the quieting of the mind with the movement of the body. This will lead to more stillness. Slow movement of martial arts, physical training, yoga and other disciplines help.
This is still not enough.
If you truly want to do the work – and I’ll be honest, it isn’t for everyone – you have to be prepared to see for the first time in your life what life actually is. Most people want to live in a world of delusion. They want to see themselves as sparkling crystals in the sunlight. They want to believe what television and social media tells them. They want to occupy themselves and mask the truth of reality. They don’t want to see what life is actually about. They don’t want to know who they really and truly are.
If you want to truly train, and I mean train in the way that wise people and sages and mystics and prophets have whispered to us, you have to sit, breathe, be truly still and let go. You need to let go of everything you cling to and listen with new ears, see with new eyes. You need to quiet the mind and let go of the thoughts rolling around in your head. You need to witness – probably for the first time since birth that you have been lead around by a storm of senses and perceptions and then something will shift. Something will change.
Stillness can lead to understanding that our senses, our perceptions and our thoughts are actually just us perceiving that we are perceiving, perceiving that we are thinking.
Behind that, if you let it, a door opens to a whole different understanding.
But like I said, most people won’t do it. Will you?
Let go and truly experience what you are and what you always have been and always will be. This is what real training is about.
It isn’t about building yourself up as something special. It isn’t about gossip or status. It isn’t about looking good in the mirror. It isn’t about anything other than finding out true limitless potential that is found in stillness.
You are not small – you are boundless.
You aren’t going to find that anywhere other than within yourself. Some of you will start today, some will forget all about this.
That’s ok – it is still there waiting inside of you, you just need to be quiet. You just need to be still. You just need to experience exactly what is really going on and then make this the central part of your training that all the rest will orbit around.
This is the path that makes all the difference. This is the Way.
Listen to the full podcast episode at Warrior’s Way Podcast