Now, we dive into step 2 of the The Declutter Code. At this point in the Code, we’ve slowed down in mind and body—the necessary step to prepare ourselves for self-inquiry and self-discovery. We’ve even scheduled in time to pause from the hustle and reflect on the here and now.
(If you haven’t read and practiced step 1, do that now. It’s an important step!)
Step 2: Still
To still is to calm through non-action. Like a lake calms after a ripple, stilling allows everything to settle and return home—that place of peace.
What is it for us to be still? It means we stop all activity—physically and mentally—and just sit with what is. Sit still with what is happening now. Sit still as the minutes tick by. Sit still with thoughts as they come and go. Sit still with the body as it twitches and itches. Sit still with the painful or pleasurable sensations. And do nothing. Make no effort to respond or react. Just let what is happening, happen. Let what is being, be.
Calming the mind in this way prepares us for insight. It shows up in the stillness, in the allowing. Stay open and receptive in the still moment and allow life to happen.
How It Clears Clutter
To still the body is to declutter because we’re calming the storm of clutter. As we still, we drastically slow the clinging to new clutter.
With no more clutter being added, it’s easier to see what clutter already exists that we’ve been turning a blind eye to. Underneath the stuff that we pile on to overcompensate and make a name for ourselves, invent an identity to use in the world.
Halting all movement and activity helps us to begin the decluttering process by settling the stormy waters, calming the chaos, smoothing the friction.
Finding stillness in the body is the ultimate retreat because by first stilling the physical body, the mind is free to follow. When you stop the moving and the fidgeting, your mind can calm and settle, detaching from the need to do.
We allow what is happening around us to happen without our involvement.
Relaxation in the body is like acceptance in the mind. We accept what is. Without having to do, we don’t seek to change, alter, avoid or deny.
When we still, we come into presence because there’s nowhere else to be except here, now. We get a taste of peace. We stop needing to be everywhere else and we choose to be right here, attending to right now. And in this moment there is us, naked, thoughtful, vulnerable.
What This Feels Like
Stilling feels like settling and calming mind and body. Mind relaxes away from demands and expectations. Body relaxes away from activity and busyness.
Stilling feels like coming into presence simply by shutting off the need to move. We sometimes use the momentum of busyness to distract ourselves from going deep within. Once the body is still, we can turn our attention inward. The mind can then still and come to center, opening our mind’s eye.
To still ourselves feels like inviting peace into our entire being. There are no obstacles of movement, obligation or demands, or thoughts of having to be anywhere else but here, now.
A Tool for Stilling: Meditation
Meditation is the process of disciplining our minds. It is coming into active vigilance over our mind’s thoughts and our body’s movements. By stilling our bodies to meditate, we grow in concentration, insight and clarity.
The more we discipline ourselves to sit still and meditate, the easier the act of stilling becomes any time we need to restore inner peace. Meditating is diluting overwhelm and chaos in the mind, loosening habitual mindsets, clearing sabotaging beliefs. It does this by drawing the mind’s attention to one thought at a time—a sensation, word, mantra, even the rhythm of the breath.
By training the mind to attend to this one thought, we quickly see how often we are pulled from that thought on to others. Witnessing endless amounts of thoughts coming and going, we can recognize our thoughts as fickle, flighty and completely innocuous. Nothing permanent about them and nothing harmful.
So as we watch our thoughts and discipline our minds to go back to the chosen word or mantra, we can see how easy it would be to allow thoughts to come and go like clouds, floating by us while we remain still. Those thoughts can’t phase us or sway us from our seated foundation—which is why the disciplined stilling of meditation itself is so important.
I am so grateful for meditation. Among countless psychological and physiological benefits, meditation has helped me cultivate equanimity, compassion and unity.
In my stillness, I settle enough to see that we humans are all the same—all cluttered, overloaded, fearful—which softens my heart for everyone. I connect easier with people because we’re all facing the same challenge of cluttered minds convincing us we’re inferior or unlovable. We’re all, in some way, held hostage by fear.
Practice Stilling Today
This step begins our meditation practice, as we focus on stilling mind and body. Give yourself time to meditate and break away from the day-to-day routine. Sit quietly without yourself, without action, and you will reap unfathomable rewards in your clarity and inner peace.
Set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Once awake in the morning, use 5 of these new, waking minutes to meditate. Get quiet and close your eyes. Relax into stillness by sitting down comfortably with your back erect.
Focus on the mantra: “I am still” and push aside disrupting thoughts in exchange for these three words. Let them come and go like clouds, always returning to your mantra: I am still. Repeat the mantra quietly to yourself, over and over during these five minutes.
Leave a comment below on your experience with meditation and the practice of stilling. What does it feel like for you?
Excerpt taken from “The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity.”