How many times in a day do we find ourselves having gone after something that we wanted, only to find ourselves "gotten" or "done in" by what we have reached for? Then what happens? The crying, complaining, bitterness, blaming starts: "Oh, why is this happening to me? This isn't right!" We can't see how we actually participated in producing the moment in which we find ourselves compromised, and now it's too late to want to "stop the world and get off."
We can't stop the world until we understand what the world is. We think we want to stop the people and the things that we think about, but the world that we want to stop is actually our reactions to the movement of the world and what takes us over. What washes us away is reactions to perceived events. When we're caught in that whirlpool of thoughts and feelings, these emotions just drag us down, and we're left wondering why our life is like it is, and why our mind won't be silent.
Having a silent life is very much connected with the idea of meditation, but we think to ourselves: "Oh, no. I can't meditate. The world is too much," and what we are seeing in our own mind is nothing more than an image of a condition that is greater, louder, more powerful than ourselves. All we are looking at in that moment is a reaction to a picture that has popped up inside of us, born out of considering the idea of meditation.
In one respect, everything about one's spiritual life is so terribly simple. There is only one time and one way in which to be still, and that is to be still.
So the first thing is to understand that we don't need to stop the world. What we need to do is understand that the world whirling around us is the world of our own reactions. It isn't until we can start to see some of this that it becomes possible for us to realize that it isn't our task to stop our own mind. If we can see clearly our reactions and our identification with the reactions, then we can realize the way to stop the world is to understand that it's not our world that is moving. It's not our world that is in jeopardy. It's not our world that is caught in fear. That's how the world stops. There is nothing we can do. Everything we've tried to do to stop our mind, to be quiet, contradicts the wish we have because it is a form of resistance.
It is not a curse that the only way to be still is to be still. It just means that we have to wade into our own life. That is what meditation is. Meditation isn't just sitting someplace with our eyes closed. Meditation is a constant, direct relationship with the sum of ourselves in the moment. When one is truly meditative there is always stillness, because the act of meditation takes place from the awareness of movement instead of being a captive of movement through reacting to it.
When it's time to be still, let yourself be still... and just see all that isn't. Then don't react or identify with all that isn't. Let all that isn't reveal all that isn't you -- meaning all the noise, the fitfulness pulling you left and right, revisiting the past, planning the future, getting caught up with how much you want to be a good spiritual person. Watch it all. If you work at this, and are willing to enter into it, slowly and certainly you will begin to realize that the reason you have not been able to be still is because you have not understood that who you are is not the noise.