After meditation last week, our group discussed the Still Point, a phenomenon I had mentioned in the 15 minute guided reflection that preceded the silence.
The Still Point has many meanings: in some schools of meditation it is the pause between heartbeats, for others it is place between breaths. In my practice, it is the interior axis mundi, the connection between temporal and the eternal, the inversion of mundane perception. What follows is my description of the phenomenon for which you may have another name …
In meditation we may come to a place where a deep stillness pervades the mind-body. The mind may still be chattering to itself or creating a passing parade of images, but the Observer comes to the fore, reducing mental activity to so much white noise.
At this stage perhaps awareness arises that we are at a fixed point – unmoving, calm, timeless; that the world of phenomena continues its display of vivid images, swirling around us as we watch with the interior eye. Instead of moving through space and time in our normal fashion, space and time flow around us, for we have entered the Still Point.
Initially, it is disconcerting. I liken it to those moments where I have sat in a train carriage, awaiting departure. Beside my train sits another and, as I watch, it begins to move; but, by a trick of perception, it feels as though I am moving, yet there is no physical sensation, no jerking of the carriage. Suddenly, I realise that the sensation of moving is an illusion – in fact I am still and the other train has gone. Those first experiences of the Still Point feel very similar to this illusion. The sudden realisation, that the Self who dwells at the heart of one’s being is indeed motionless, overturns the sense of dynamism and mobility that characterise the superficial layers of perception.
This Self becomes absorbed in stillness. It gazes deeply into existence, into beingness, and desires nothing. It is utterly at peace.
The physical manifestations are a sense of deep calm, as though the axis passed through heart and head. The Sanskrit term Satcitānanda, Satchidānanda, or Sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानन्द) , meaning “being, consciousness, bliss”, describes the sublimely blissful experience of the boundless, pure consciousness. It is a glimpse of ultimate reality. This is the Still Point – not an ending, but a beginning – as we journey along the path that leads to awakening from the sleep of forgetfulness.