Well, I feel as if I made a start yesterday. It was a small step, a toe in what seems like an ocean of tasks before I sense a concomitant clearing of mind and vision, but it was a start. With a desire to accept whatever hardship accompanies this day, I look to those whose words first energized me yesterday (see yesterday’s post).
There are many wise people recommending a period of silence in each of our days and many modes of prayer that can lead us there. In my notes from yesterday, however, there was a sentence that focused in a slightly different direction from most but engaged me quite strongly, partially because the hoped for state was not silence but stillness — a related but not matching outcome. It said simply:
If your mind is still, you can sense the peace that emanates from the earth.
As I consider this, I reflect on the appropriateness of the thought for today when it would have seemed highly inappropriate yesterday. Today peace abounds outside. The sun is shining. There is no wind, no snow or sleet or rain. (We had examples of each of those conditions yesterday.) I am confident that stepping outside to experience the light, to breathe in the fresh air, to feel the earth under my feet, to bow to the steadiness and longevity of the trees and the fragile strength of flowers who are still alive after the storms…all of this leads me to stillness. And I am renewed with confidence in this day because, you see, stillness comes from the inside, regardless of outer events.
You may think I’m contradicting myself in comparing yesterday and today as regards the source of peace and how it comes to us. I would agree but the value of assessing both experiences is the conviction that, while silence is more easily achieved when there is no noise or disturbance around (not an easy place to find sometimes), stillness does not depend on any outer circumstance but comes simply by turning inward and taking a breath. While we cannot always control noise vs. silence, we can move to stillness as long as we live, literally until our last breath.