Ways to Be still


Over twenty years ago, I started a practice of stillness, or as we refer to it in Discipline #4: Be Still – Sit in Silence for 30 Minutes Every Day. My main practice is meditation, a topic that has piqued the interest of driven entrepreneurs (and leaders) all over the world for the past decade. For the driven, I constantly hear how hard it is for them to be still, especially to meditate. In today’s Discovery for the Driven, I’ll share a bit about meditation but also other ideas for you to set yourself up successfully for 30 minutes of stillness.

We recommend four types of stillness: prayer, meditation, journaling, and contemplation. There are other ways to practice stillness so if something else pings you, please follow your intuition. Many seem relieved when we share with them that they can incorporate one or all four of these into 30 minutes. For example, Gino meditates, contemplates, and journals during his stillness time. I meditate and journal. 

Many are curious about the best time of day to practice stillness. The short answer is … you know best. Gino does it in the morning, I do it in the morning and evening.  Sometimes, if things are getting crazy in the afternoon, I’ll pause and sit in stillness for ten minutes to settle my mind. Our clients seem to choose morning or evening. 

Ok, so hopefully that sheds some light on ways to be still. Now, I’ll segue to a deeper dive into meditation. Full disclosure, I teach meditation so I get excited to share. 

Recently I read a wonderful way to approach meditation and was inspired to share it in this Discovery. It comes from the book, In Love with the World, by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. The story goes like this:  

A successful businessman was trying to learn to settle his mind and wanted to meditate. Every time he did, he felt he was failing. “It seemed the man’s main problem was still trying to control his thoughts.” In other words, he believed that in order to be successful, he had to be void of thought. This is a common misconception. The essence of meditation, Mingyur says, is “awareness.” 

Below is a summary (in my words, inspired by the book) of instructions that was shared with the businessman. If you are challenged with meditation, maybe you’ll find it useful:

In meditation, just as you can focus on your breath, you can also use your thoughts as an anchor. This practice involves observing your thoughts without getting attached to them—simply watch them come and go. This helps in understanding the transient nature of thoughts and teaches you to stay present without chasing after every thought.

You are encouraged to notice all sensations, sounds, and feelings—including discomfort and restlessness—but not to get attached to them. This practice sharpens your ability to experience pure awareness, a state of knowing without the usual interferences of the ego or mental fixations. This clear, unobstructed awareness connects you to your inner wisdom.

When first trying to meditate on thoughts, you may find it challenging to pinpoint them; your mind might even feel blank. This sensation of ‘blankness’ is actually a form of open awareness, where there is no specific object of focus like breath or thoughts. This state is an opportunity to recognize and rest in the spacious and knowing qualities of your mind, which are always present but often overlooked.

This approach to meditation can significantly enhance your ability to remain present and detached from fleeting thoughts and sensations, fostering a deeper connection with your internal state of awareness.

Journaling prompts (pick one or all three):

  1. Reflect on the ways to be still. Which of the four recommended types (prayer, meditation, journaling, contemplation) could you imagine practicing, if any? Describe how each would impact your day. If you were to incorporate multiple forms during your 30 minutes of stillness, how would you balance them?
  1. Journal about the times you choose to practice stillness. Why have you chosen these specific times of day? Reflect on the effectiveness of these moments—are they helping you achieve the mental clarity and peace you seek? If you find certain times are more effective than others, explore why that might be and how you can make the most of those moments.
  1. Think about the times you’ve struggled with meditation, similar to the businessman’s experience in the story. What were your main challenges? Were you trying to control your thoughts or were you able to observe them without attachment? Reflect on how understanding meditation as a practice of awareness rather than thought control changes your approach. How might this insight help you in future meditation sessions?

If Be Still is an area where you could still use some support, I encourage you to join our self-study program to help you build the foundation to put this into place in your life.