It may seem straightforward that some things are still and some are moving. But if we pay a little more attention, we may notice that stillness and movement are just concepts that we use to explain the world to ourselves and each other.
For instance, I always think of the ground as still and rock solid. But when I visited Iceland, I found that that wasn’t true. The meeting place of the North American plate and the Eurasian plate is found in Thingvellir, a sweeping valley surrounded by majestic cliffs. This is known as the Mid-Atlantic ridge. The ridge is essentially a volcanic seam many thousands of miles long, where magma is belched from deep inside the Earth, comes to the surface creating new crust and pushing these two tectonic plates apart. It moves at a rate of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) per year. This creates strain and the result is earthquakes, some are small and occasionally some are large.
Another example of movement and stillness from Iceland is the glaciers. There are temporary bridges to cross over to the glaciers from the land, but they need to be “adjusted” every week, since the glaciers move a foot each week!
Where else is there movement in stillness? What about a more personal experience? When we get still in seated meditation, our lungs expand and contract with our breath and our hearts beat. There is movement within the stillness.
An exploration of our preconceived ideas can open us up to other possibilities of seeing and experiencing. If we start with our notions of movement and stillness we can have fun finding all types of different examples! See what you can find.
“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
– David Foster Wallace, – Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
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