Stillness Beyond Measure
Many of us take great comfort from knowing what we have. We like to be able to measure our resources, our skills and abilities. Some of us take surveys, both online and in books, to measure our strengths and our personalities. We want to know as much about ourselves as we can.
It is important, we have been taught, to have measurable goals and to keep track our progress.
We put our trust in what we can measure. Things which are not measurable seem to be less real.
What do we do, then, with things which are beyond measure?
We look up at the night sky and see the light from more stars than we can count. Those stars are further away than most of us can imagine.
Some of us think about the challenges we face as a planet. We often cannot grasp the problems, much less find creative solutions. It feels like more than we can handle.
It is one of the reasons it is so difficult for us to think about God. Where do we even begin to consider someone who is, by definition, beyond our understanding?
We like to start with small, safe steps. Like babies learning to walk for the first time, we want to take baby steps.
How do we begin to put something which is beyond our ability to measure it into context? Is it even possible for us to relate to anything or anyone we cannot measure?
It feels easier for us to separate things which are beyond our understanding from our everyday lives. We want to leave those things up to experts, let them think about things, and ask them our questions.
Unfortunately, people we see as experts on spiritual life can leave us understanding less than when we started.
Experiencing Stillness Beyond Measure
We do not need experts to help us understand as much as we need guides to help us experience stillness.
Some of us begin by looking for ways to set aside our fears and anxieties. All those things we have been taught about measuring and planning might be helpful after all. Sometimes we just need to be willing to try something for ourselves.
We may be scared to put our first toe in the water of stillness. Realizing we cannot measure what we are setting out to experience can be intimidating.
Many of us establish a contemplative practice to make ourselves feel more comfortable. We think setting a specific time limit of so many minutes at certain times each day will help protect us. Some of us find a coach or a guide to help us feel secure. We may surround ourselves with a community of people and practice together.
When all our safeguards and lifelines are in place we begin to practice. We close our eyes and breathe deeply, and step into stillness beyond measure.
Some of us can feel a little overwhelmed at the beginning. It is almost as if we step off a ledge and stillness draws us into itself. Others of us are more comfortable right from the start.
Enveloped in stillness beyond measure, we recognize we are not facing some new challenge. Sacred stillness has been with us all along.
Our practice of sacred stillness is not a matter of how many minutes or how often each day. Listening to sacred stillness is a contemplative practice which cannot be measured.
Practicing Stillness Beyond Measure
Many of us are helped or encouraged by having a particular time or place to practice listening to sacred stillness. Where and when and how often we listen, though, is not the measure of our contemplative practice.
We take time each day to remember to be open to spiritual life in the stillness. The stillness to which we listen is beyond our ability to understand or measure. There is power in the stillness which shapes, and reshapes, us.
Each moment we practice listening opens us to new possibilities, new realities.
Soaking in stillness beyond measure transforms how we understand ourselves. Sacred stillness does not demand anything from us. All stillness asks of us is we take time to listen.
We release our grip on everything other than stillness. All the distractions which fill our days and nights settle into the background. Our fears and anxieties, our regrets and dreams, everything which fills our hearts and minds takes a breath.
Each day we remind ourselves of the sacred stillness beyond measure which is all around us and within us. As we experience the healing power of sacred stillness we gradually become people of stillness.
Our contemplative practices open us to stillness beyond measure.
Sacred Stillness Beyond Measure
We have a choice to make every day, every hour, every moment.
Some of us choose to trust only what we can measure and control, what our senses tell us is true. We decide not to look beyond the surface and believe in what we have the power to make happen.
Others of us experience something greater than we are, something beyond our ability to measure. Our experience may catch us off guard at first, but our curiosity gets the better of us. We begin to explore and discover stillness beyond measure.
I believe life is more than what we might see at first glance.
We take time to listen to sacred stillness beyond measure and what we hear transforms us. What we thought we knew was so dependable is revealed to be a starting point, the tip of the iceberg.
For a few moments each day we lift our eyes from measuring the world around us and inside us. We close them, take a deep breath, and listen to stillness beyond measure.
When will we be open to stillness beyond measure today?
How will we practice living in sacred stillness beyond measure this week?
[Image by jayninelessons]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.