Stillness

It was Saturday night, I was doodling when my iPad popped out a reminder to me: Stillness Meditation.

Then it triggered me to want to draw a picture about stillness but I had no idea how to represent it.

What does stillness mean to me? Am I even achieving stillness in all my meditations?

Perhaps not for the past one year.

I looked out of the window, it has been a hazy day, with the haze reaching unhealthy limit and so all my windows and doors were closed.

The scene outside the window was slightly blurred by the haze, and the sky was quiet, no cloud to be seen, no star either. And I thought, what would it be like if it was a starry starry night?

And so I decided to draw a starry night with peace and calmness in mind.

I have always loved and wished that I can enjoy the view of a starry night but I have experienced it only once.

It was many years ago when I was still in the army, and we went to Australia (hmm Australia…) for training. On one of the training nights, we slept outside in the open space and it was cold. As usual, training wasn’t too easy and so it was a tiring day. And by the time night came, I slipped into my sleeping bag and wrapped myself fully and fell asleep quickly, without noticing the environment.

Then I woke up in between my sleep and stick my head out of the sleeping bag. And I was awed by what I saw for the first time in my life. It was a clear sky filled with bright shimmering stars! What a marvellous sight! The downside of that during that moment was I was in my army uniform instead of with my beautiful girlfriend of mine in that year.

I began to admire the beautiful scene for a while but it was too cold for me to leave my head outside the sleeping bag. So I went back to sleep after a short while.

I can never forget that moment when I was surprised with one of the most beautiful gifts in my life. After that experience, I have never had a chance to see the same sky again and years later, I learned that we are always blinded by either the clouds or the bright city lights.

Last year, as I took pictures of the aurora in Finland and Norway, the stars were also barely visible through the naked eyes, but when I edited the pictures, I noticed that that the stars were there all the while.

Anyway, back to the main topic,

The drawing began to take shape as I imagined myself being at the beach, enjoying the breeze and the amazing sky. The crescent is something that I love (sometimes I just prefer a crescent than a full moon) and the stars are all over the sky, with Orion sitting among the stars. Honestly, I do not know whether the moon and stars can “co-exist” or not but I just felt like putting them together.

The visualisation of the sky itself already brought peace to my mind.

The sea signifies our mind, where it is constantly flowing with thoughts, especially deep within our souls. It is most apparent when one really sits down and observe the amount of thoughts that flash by in a short period of time.

This year, I have come to realise that it’s easy to meditate during peace time, but when one goes through the turmoil of life, be it big or small, meditation becomes a huge task, for our thoughts (especially the negative ones) or some call it our ego, will definitely harass us and tell us all the lies that will lead us to the wrong path.

I have been struggling with meditation for many months. I still meditate but not as peaceful and still as the year before, and not as long as I wish to sit.

Staying still is like trying to smooth the sea surface, it seems impossible.

As I let my heart sink deeper within, I caught glimpses of stillness here and there. It didn’t last long before my monkey mind started wandering again.

Nevertheless, it was a good session I had that evening after drawing this picture.

16.09.2019

Francis Lim

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