A. Most people think it means to enjoy sitting still with our mind focused on something like our breath or Zen question during the meditation practice. Of course we can have such a feeling during the practice, and the stillness we feel during the practice will grow deeper and deeper along with it. That is a very essential process which we go through in order to reach the final goal. However, that is not the stillness mentioned in Zen meditation because as soon as we stop the practice, the stillness breaks and we come back into the noisy world. The stillness that can be enjoyed only during practice is of no practical use in our life. The purpose of Zen meditation is not to change only a given part of our life at a given time, but to change our whole life. In other words, the stillness we pursue is not temporary but permanent stillness, which we can feel only when, after removing all illusions, we realise the whole universe is still all the time regardless of whether we practice or not. Then our life is always still and peaceful, and we can enjoy stillness all the time even in a busy street or a crowded market place.
If I were asked what stillness is, I would say,
“Ten volcanos erupt at the same time.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway