Finding Stillness

A visit to a cathedral....
A visit to a cathedral by Mike Heseltine

As I enter the cathedral, I feel the sun and the moon coming together, creating stillness. I sense all the people who have visited this place. In timelessness, all of them are present.

While doing this drawing.... more.

My thoughts distract me from mindfulness.

My thoughts distract me from stillness. I dwell in the illusions of past and future.
I grasp at my feelings, but they are now imagined.
Thoughts have taken me away from the stillness.

Many years ago I found .... more

The constant chatter in my mind picture

Above my head a circle of never ending thoughts. In the centre of the circle, beyond the thoughts and where the hub is, there is stillness.

My thoughts imagine what might happen or they endlessly reinterpret the past. Either way, while I listen to them, my life passes by.

I create my story.

Thoughts quickly take me from the present moment, to an illusional world where I create my story and where I am king.

The tree in the picture continues to represent the Tree of Thoughts, where I am firmly placed. My ego lives in these thoughts, taking me to imagined conversations or possible future confrontations. I waste so much time in this illusional world, where I may be King, but I miss the rewards of being in the present moment.

I only see my thoughts.

My thoughts colour and interpret what I see, so that what I see are just my thoughts.
I am unaware of the wisdom in the stillness of the tomb.

In the painting I am focused upon my thoughts. The tree I am holding is also like a mirror, with the confused figures looking to the past and future. I am the two figures. I have become my thoughts. Behind me is the stillness of the tomb. With stillness I find acceptance. With acceptance, I see with more clarity, but instead I am focused on my thoughts and illusions.
Beneath me is the tomb, where peace and wisdom of stillness is always with me, but I choose to look away.

I only see my thoughts.

When I look at you,
what I see is me.

I hold onto my thoughts of the past and future in my left hand. I look and all I can see is a reflection of me.
Beyond is a figure who is present in stillness, but I don't see him. I just see the version created by my illusions.
My thoughts define me and what I see.

The illusion of self painting by Mike Heseltine

The illusion of self.

As I look at the tomb, I become aware that I am because of every previous life.
We are all our ancestors.
They all live on in us.
The drawing shows how we are all rooted and connected in the stillness of the tomb. That part of us never changes. The tree, shaped like a tombstone, displays a succession of lives which reminds us of how their actions gave rise to us. There is only one life. Their actions live on in us.

The burden of self by Mike Heseltine

The burden of self.

My personal story is an illusion, created by my ego. The tree reflects an image I have created but do not recognise.
I maintain the pretence of self, while I know I am not the choreographer of my life.
The tree containing the constant chatter of my thoughts prevents me seeing the stillness and divine above.

I am not my thoughts

I am not my thoughts.

While I observe my thoughts, I become an awareness beyond thought.
I become the stillness in the centre of the circle and the awareness of the tomb.

Space Between thoughts. Art by Mike Heseltine

The space between thoughts.

I witness my thoughts to let them go.
I become the space between thoughts.

One evening an owl hovered above Rosanna and me. Like many surprise encounters with wildlife, time stood still along with our thoughts. We became alive to the present moment. I felt connected by a stillness and joy in the space between thoughts.

Drawing of Letting go

Letting go of past and future.

In that space, I am the stillness of the Cathedral.
The painting depicts me in the cathedral and letting go of the Tree of Thoughts. Outside, time and thoughts move on while inside, the symbol of stillness is with me. Although the cathedral helps me to witness stillness, I acknowledge that it is within me at all times.

Finding stillness.

With no thoughts, I am the sun and the moon as one.
Standing in front of a tomb, my connection was in the stillness. The stillness in the tomb and in me was the same, while time and thoughts passed overhead.

Die before you die

I die before I die.

I let go of all things and only the ego dies.
As I remain still, I feel an acceptance of the impermanence of all things. I feel a freedom, allowing me to enjoy what is, rather than grasp for something else. If I can die before I die, then there is no death.

In stillness picture

In stillness we co-exist.

In stillness we are all one.
As I stood in front of the tomb, I felt a connection with all my ancestors. It seems that when my mind is still, I sense that the only thing that exists is this one moment that is created by everything that has ever been. In the drawing, the owl and me co-exist in the awareness of the universal consciousness of God, represented by the stillness of the tomb.

What we have is enough painting.

What we have is enough.

In stillness, what we have is enough. When the owl hovered above Rosanna and me, we felt a deep happiness from within. Everything we needed was present in the moment. The owl had taken away thoughts of past and future, leaving us both no desire for anything more than what we had.

My stillness painting

Please continue to:
Chapter 2 - We are all connected

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