Learn to be Still

It’s a 3-hour drive from home to our place in Vermont. While my family and I usually ride up in one car, a recent trip required that we have two cars, so I got to drive solo. Rolling through New Hampshire and Vermont on I-89, the Eagles’ 1994 Hell Freezes Over album was my soundtrack. On that ride, I connected once again with the song “Learn to be Still.” I probably played it 6 or 7 times, and really let the lyrics sink in. Wow. I had the volume cranked, the treble boosted a tad so I could swim in the presence of Henley’s hypnotic acoustic guitar strumming, and, well, it was heaven.

Music, and all art, really, is as much a reflection of ourselves as it is a statement by the artist. To me, a seeker, an explorer of the Way, “Learn to be Still” is about enlightenment. Being still, losing that stillness, then being still once again is the essence of a meditation practice. In the stillness, we can appreciate our true nature. We recognize the observer of our thoughts. With this awareness comes the ability to detach, be objective, and appreciate the interconnectedness of all things. Over time, with practice, this way of experiencing how the world works brings peace, allows the elimination of judgment, and a deep appreciation for the role that each of us plays in the dance of life.


The awareness that emerges from stillness, the way I experience it, is the wellspring of happiness. The Dalai Lama says “The purpose of life is to be happy.” Said differently, our purpose here is to remember our perfection. How's that going for you?

Yeah, the words don’t really work here. They can’t. But the point is this: keep practicing. Shut up and listen. Step away from the mic and just be open to the insights that arise in the quiet spaces between the notes. They will point you in the right direction. Learn to be still.

"Learn To Be Still"
Don Henley, Stanley Lynch

It's just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed. 
You'd give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head. 
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill. 
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will. 
Learn to be still. 

We are like sheep without a shepherd. 
We don't know how to be alone. 
So we wander 'round this desert, 
And wind up following the wrong gods home. 
But the flock cries out for another, 
And they keep answering that bell, 
And one more starry-eyed messiah
Meets a violent farewell. 
Learn to be still. 
Learn to be still. 

Now the flowers in your garden, 
They don't smell so sweet. 
Maybe you've forgotten
The heaven lying at your feet. 

There are so many contradictions
In all these messages we send. 
We keep asking
How do I get out of here? 
Where do I fit in? 
Though the world is torn and shaken, 
Even if your heart is breakin', 
It's waiting for you to awaken, 
And someday you will, 
Learn to be still. 
Learn to be still. 

You just keep on runnin'. 
Keep on runnin'

Want to work on this stuff for yourself? Interested in exploring how happiness, financial success and leadership talent are delightful byproducts of a life lived with intention? Then let's talk. I'm not a guru; I'm a fellow traveler. Let's take one small step together and see where it leads!