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Moving Between Stillness and Abundance

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“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
  ~Epicurus

“ The self must know stillness before it can discover its true song.”
  ~Ralph Brum

We often think of these two states as polar opposites, abundance characterized by the hustle-bustle of acquisition and doing, and stillness by the starkness of a blank wall.

But when we mistake abundance of things or possessions for true abundance in our lives, we become overwhelmed by the gathering and seeking and cataloguing and comparing. When we seek richness and plenty for ourselves and our families, what we truly seek is a depth of experience and feeling in our activities and relationships that illumines the great value of what we have.

In stillness what we have is brought into bright relief as the textures of experience come to the fore and we stop to appreciate the depth and richness of what is already present. Stillness cultivates a deep self-knowledge underlying all authenticity. Cultivating stillness requires courage, though, because what is still is our attention. When our attention wanders and runs after lists and worries, we are acting from fear. When we have the courage to quiet our attention and court stillness in our inner world, we begin a true transformation. From day to day this sense of stillness may be elusive—here today, gone tomorrow. But the act of courting it, making space and inviting it into our lives, is itself a transformative act.

Entertain for just one moment that here and now you have everything—everything—you truly need for this moment. What would that feel like? Practice finding the abundance in a moment of stillness, and the still, calm center of true abundance, with this meditation on the breath as a movement between the poles of abundance and stillness.

Find your comfortable seat with your sitting bones pressing into the surface beneath you and your heart lifting from the strength of your connection to the Earth.


Begin with breath observation. For five breaths simply be breathing, noticing how your body moves to accept the breath and then to let it go.

On your next breath in, expand your body slowly, from the bottom up. Follow the wave of the breath up from the belly, over the heart and up to your shoulders. Exhale by allowing a wave of relaxation to wash down your body, from your shoulders to your pelvis. Take three more breaths in this slow, wavelike manner.

Add a pause between inhalation and exhalation. This is not holding, but rather is an easy resting in the space between inhale and exhale. It need not be long, only filled with your awareness. At the end of your next inhalation, rest in the abundance of your breath, simply enjoying the feeling of “nothing left to do.” Your body will know when to let the wave of relaxation wash down and begin the exhalation.

At the end of your next exhalation, rest in the stillness. Feel the sense of peace that comes from letting go of all you no longer need. Your body will know when to invite the next round of expansion and inhale.

With each exhalation, feel the wave of relaxation and release as your body literally and figuratively lets go of all it no longer needs. In the space of emptiness, before you invite the next round of nourishing activity, allow the quiet to seep into your spirit.

With each inhalation, feel the breath nourishing you, and in the moment between inhale and exhale, entertain that for this moment you have everything you need. When you are ready to close your meditation, return to observing your natural breath for five breaths before opening your eyes, reaching your arms up and overhead, then drawing your hands down in front of your heart.

Bring this awareness of the motion and dance between stillness and affirmations for abundance into everything you do today. When you feel tempted to run away from the power of the present moment, find the richness at the center of your experience. When you feel like your life or your moment is too much of anything, find that sweet pause between breaths and remember you are enough.

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About Jill Magso