West London Buddhist Centre

Stillness and Dynamism

Published on Mar 10th 2021, in Blog

Stillness and Dynamism

In meditation you are aiming to be settled, calm, have depth and be relaxed while being actively involved with something. Mostly that is attending to the body and the breath. Learning to become more present with the breath and avoiding randomly wandering off is an ongoing process. Over time you come to know at a subliminal level what helps you engage creatively with the breath and that knowledge becomes an ongoing process of development.

The experience of progress can sometimes feel quite difficult because you’re coming up against obstacles within yourself or even externally. As time goes on you find that you are more able to deal with and even relish the experience of the challenge.

In meditation the process of attention on the breath has the effect of calming and settling the mind so the two components of calmness and activity come together. The more familiar you become with that unity in the meditation the easier it becomes to transfer that ability to your everyday mindfulness.

The Pool and the Stream Metaphors

In the meditations we have been engaging with we can consider the two approaches through metaphor. Asking the metaphorical question, “if I’m a pond what kind of pond am I like right now?”, is an expression of this more settled depth of experience. Also when you are involved in something you can ask yourself the metaphorical question, “if I’m stream now what kind stream am I like?”. Going backwards and forwards between the more subtle qualities of calmness and the more active involvement in the way that you do things can be a helpful way of synthesising these two components.

Everyday mindfulness

Periodically through the day it is very useful just to check whether you’re in touch with being calm and settled while you are doing something and adjust as needed. Also, periodically check whether you’re feeling rushed and pushed in what you’re doing as that will also contribute to you feeling out of touch with the deeper sense of yourself. There is a difference between doing things quickly and feeling rushed. When you are doing things quickly you can still stay in touch with that broader more settled, relaxed and open sense of yourself.


Vajradaka is one of the most experienced meditation teachers in Triratna and is continuously developing fresh approaches to maintaining and developing a vibrant meditation practice. He is known for easy to relate to ways of teaching which come across as clear, practical and relevant. He is a regular guest teacher on Dharma Night.

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