The True Meaning of Stillpower

Note: This week, a second article (relevant to those interested in both the original work of Syd Banks and Non-duality) can be found on my Facebook page:  G


What seems like a lifetime ago, my first book, Stillpower, was published. Actually, and it seems funny to say, I wrote much of the book under the working title: Why the Grind?

But even funnier, or not, it wasn’t till about five years ago that the true meaning behind both titles became glaringly obvious.

That is, as a former grind-it-out type of athlete, person, and thus sufferer, I long ago intuited that there had to be a better way. In the recesses of my mind, I knew that effort should be essentially effortless. That passion and toil were antonyms. I knew that the only place “the grind” ultimately takes you is to the emergency room, if not to a counselor’s couch.

I also knew that stillpower trumped willpower. So, I wrote an entire book encouraging this understanding. And because at the time this understanding was relatively new to the world of performance, the book helped my career tremendously.

The book, however, missed the mark tremendously.

And here’s why:

It’s not work, effort, thorough exploration, or detailed study that’s ever an actual problem. Rather, it’s the perspective from which you work, bring effort, explore, or study. Are you seeking externally, in the material world, or looking within? Are you grasping for objects or exploring the Self? Are you straying from Source or staying with Source?

In short, seeking externally will always feel like a grind because when we look for who we are in who we are not (thoughts, feelings, the body, relationships, money, gurus, championships, status, practices, activities, substances), we’ll always suffer. Thus, we’ll need to summon willpower or grind to carry us through.

On the other hand, looking toward Source (Consciousness, Awareness, God’s infinite Being, or Love) will always feel calm and quiet, simple yet energetic, because there’s no actual step from who we are to who we are. Thus, looking to Source requires no force or exertion.

The bottom line is that exploring Source or Consciousness—i.e., self-inquiry, surrender, or the folding of the mind into the heart—does require time; it does require effort. In order to know who you are, you must hang out with who you are. But it won’t take a toll (when that happens, you’re again seeking in the material world). Self-inquiry spawns effortless effort, or stillpower, indeed.

“Stillpower” was the right word. I was on the right track. Yet, stillpower bordered on becoming a method rather than the cessation of methods; it bordered on becoming an object rather than the intuitive effect of inward exploration. 

Speaking of inward exploration, The Path of No Resistance  . . who knew?