Sitting Still (Part 1)

    On the band, REM's album, Murmur, there is a song entitled "Sitting Still." It a very melodic, catchy tune. The lyrics of this song, and many of their other songs are sometimes difficult to pick out and somewhat contested. There is however one particular fragment in the song where Michael Stipe sings ". . . it's a waste of time sitting still." And so it is a great question for us. Is the practice of sitting still in silence, in meditation, biofeedback, relaxation response or contemplative prayer a way to find Pure Silence, to find the Truth, Enlightenment, Divine Union or Nirvana? If you have read previous entries in this site, you will have read ideas about stopping, being still, allowing the silence to be realized, etc. Is the practice of physical stillness important in this realization of Pure Silence?

    I can only answer this by stating a few facts. First, every spiritual tradition maintains the idea that silence and stillness are important for genuine psycho-spiritual and human development. Buddha found enlightenment "sitting" under the Bodhi tree. Jesus went to the desert to search within himself and fought off temptations (mental dramas?) and is described in the gospels as going off alone frequently to pray. Many other founders of various religions discovered their "way" from practices of being still in silence. Second, it is scientifically proven that meditative practices are extremely beneficial for the body itself. You can read up on that on your own.

   The problem I see is not with sitting still and meditating, it is rather finding the answer to three questions. Why does one need to meditate at all? Who is there meditating? What is or should be the result of meditating? By really and personally answering these questions, it is possible to see if "it is a waste of time sitting still." Please do think about this.

Peace to you.

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