Alert stillness is not a state of consciousness familiar to most Westerners. We tend either to be alert or relaxed. Rarely are the two states combined in most of us. But in meditation, we come to experience ourselves as at one and the same time totally relaxed and totally alert. This stillness is not the stillness of sleep, but rather of totally awakened concentration.  

     If you look at a watchmaker about to perform some deft movement with a fine pair of tweezers, you will notice how still and poised he is as he scrutinizes the inside of the watch through his eyeglass. His stillness, however, is one of complete concentration, serious absorption in what he is doing. Similarly in meditation, our stillness is not a state of mere passivity but a state of full openness, full wakefulness to the wonder of our own being, full openness to the wonder of God, the author and sustainer of our being, and a full awareness that we are at one with God. 

Reference: Peter Ng, ed., The Hunger for Depth and Meaning: Learning to Meditate with John Main, 164. 



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