Common steps and sub-activities

Still point induction

The so called ‘still point’ or ‘quiet point’ is a state reached in relaxation, contemplation and detachment and can also be achieved via osteopathic techniques, notable still point induction and via craniosacral therapy.

It is a state where the 5 senses are stilled, the reason is stilled, the memory is stilled, the objectives and desires are excluded, perceptions are stilled and as such the Will has nothing on which to work.  It is a place of nothingness!!

Evelyn Underhill

As contemplation becomes deeper, the self slides into a certain dim yet vivid consciousness of the Infinite.  The door tight shut on the sensual world, it becomes aware that it is immersed in a more real world which it cannot define. 

It rests quietly in this awareness, quite silent, utterly at peace.  In the place of the struggles for complete concentration which mark the beginning there is now a feeling of surrender to something bigger and with it an immense relief of strain.  This is ‘quiet’ in its most perfect form, sinking like a little child into the arms of the infinite


It has been defined as follows:

a narrowing of the field of consciousness to a point at which all knowledge of the external world is lost, all the messages of the senses are utterly ignored.  The subject may appear to be in a state of trance, characterised by physical rigidity and more or less complete anaesthesia”.

It appears that so nice was this state to some people that some 'contemplatists' [as they were called] decided that that was where they wanted to stay – in a state of ‘quietude’ as some called it, a state roundly condemned by fellow more active contemplators. 

The following quote is quite marvellous – I had school teachers like Evelyn. ‘XXX you will get nowhere in life if you fritter all your time on enjoying yourself”. The Olympic spirit was very strong in Evelyn, she was determined to go for gold and deeply dismissive of anyone who settled for bronze or perhaps were just happy to cross the finishing line at some stage  ……………

Evelyn Underhill

Quiet is the danger-zone of contemplation. Of all forms of .. activity, perhaps this has been the most abused, the least understood. Its theory, seized upon, divorced from its context, and developed to excess, produced the foolish and dangerous exaggerations of Quietism: and these, in their turn, caused a wholesale condemnation of the principle of passivity

The accusation of Quietism has been hurled at mystics whose only fault was a looseness of language …. Others, however, have certainly contrived, by a perversion and isolation of the teachings of great contemplatives on this point, to justify the deliberate production of a half hypnotic state of passivity. With this meaningless state of "absorption in nothing at all" they were content; claiming that in it they were in touch with the divine life, and therefore exempt from the usual duties and limitations of human existence.

‘Quietude’  existed in a … dangerous form in the Middle Ages: and was described and denounced by Ruysbroeck, …..

"Such quietude," he says, "is nought else but idleness, into which a man has fallen, and in which he forgets himself and God and all things in all that has to do with activity.. . . . When a man possesses this rest in false idleness, and all loving adherence seems a hindrance to him, he clings to himself in his quietude and lives contrary to the first-way in which man is united with God; and this is the beginning of all ghostly error."

There can be no doubt that for selves of a certain psychical constitution, such a "false idleness" is only too easy of attainment. 

They can, by wilful self-suggestion, deliberately produce this emptiness, this inward silence, and luxuriate in its peaceful effects. To do this from self-regarding motives, or to do it to excess - to let "peaceful enjoyment" swamp "active love"- is a mystical vice! and this perversion of the spiritual faculties, like perversion of the natural faculties, brings degeneration in its train.

It leads to the absurdities of "holy indifference," and ends in the complete stultification of the mental and moral life. The true mystic never tries deliberately to enter the orison of quiet: regards it as a supernatural gift, beyond his control, though fed by his will and love. That is to say, where it exists in a healthy form, it appears spontaneously, as a phase in normal development not as a self-induced condition, a psychic trick.

 Now we need to take stock here a bit. 

There is nothing wrong with ecstatic bliss, we could all do with a bit of ecstatic bliss in our lives.  What is perhaps more important  is that if you are on the spiritual path, this state doesn't lead anywhere, and if you are not on the spiritual path, it can make you go ga ga after a while.  And I do not mean this as a joke, you befuddle your reasoning and mental processes so much you can't get them back – and in this day and age, this is somewhat disastrous because we need all the mental powers we have.

So although Evelyn may get a bit annoyed about all that sloth and indolence, that is the least of your worries if you persist at this stage and leave it at the 'bliss and ecstasy' level.

Spiritually, so for those on the spiritual path, this sort of half way point of experience, if left at that can result in a stage known in spiritual circles as 'the dark night of the soul'.  Because we have contacted the composer, but done nothing with the input except enjoy it, the composer can abruptly cut off all communication and leave you hanging there in a sort of awful state of loneliness and desolation.