In Thy Stillness Let My Heart Rest
Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote
Through the silence of nature,
I attain Thy divine peace.
O sublime nature,
in thy stillness let my heart rest.
Thou art patiently awaiting the moment
to manifest through the silence of sublime nature.
O nature sublime, speak to me through silence,
for I am awaiting in silence like you the call of God.
O nature sublime,
through thy silence I hear Thy cry.
My heart is tuned to the quietness,
that the stillness of nature inspires.
Many of us spend our days racing from one thing to another. In the midst of our rushing, hurried lives we find ourselves distracted by noise and other voices.
We fill our hours from waking up to going to bed with work and responsibilities. Then when we try to sleep we find ourselves filled with worries and concerns.
It is easy for us to grow accustomed to striving and struggling all day every day. We begin to feel all our working and worrying is normal, everyday life.
The more we get used to the way we live our lives the higher our expectations become.
Some of us experience spiritual life as just one more demand on our time and attention. Many of us experience spiritual life more to do.
How will we ever find time to reflect and to listen?
Will we ever be able to catch up, to take time to listen to sacred stillness? When will we have an opportunity to stop and catch our breath, to breathe deeply?
Where can I turn to give my mind and my heart rest?
We practice listening to sacred stillness and the moment we listen is the only moment when our hearts find rest. It may the moment when we most closely approach the sublime.
When Will My Heart Rest?
Doing work we love in ways we enjoy is not the same as resting.
Growing up, it was easy for me to tell the difference between work and rest. Work was what you would not do unless someone paid you to do it. Work was hard, draining physically and emotionally. The reward for work was financial.
My father told me they call it work because they pay you to do it. He also told me to stay in school so I did not need to work for a living.
Balance was you worked as long as they told you you needed to work, then you rested.
Now work is less demanding for me physically, more demanding emotionally and intellectually. There are many rewards for my work, including financial. It is a challenge for me to find my own balance of work and rest.
I am learning our rest shapes our work. It is the time we spend listening to sacred stillness and breathing in spiritual life which helps us work with people. We revel in the deep truths all around us. Listening to sacred stillness helps us find our deep selves.
Our rest allows us to invest ourselves in doing a good job and accomplishing meaningful results. Rest is as significant as effort. Not everything depends on how long or hard we work. There are times when rest is the best thing we can do to contribute.
Each of us discovers how we will help our own mind and heart rest. Spiritual life speaks to us through stillness. Deep within us we recognize the balance of rest and work which sets our hearts on fire.
How Does My Heart Rest in Sacred Stillness?
Do we attain divine peace through the stillness of nature? Is the sacred stillness within us related to sacred stillness in the world around us?
It is a challenge for many of us to find the connection between stillness in nature and within us. Sacred stillness gets blended into the background of our noisy, busy lives. We do not set aside time to listen and we miss the significance of sacred stillness.
Why do we find sacred stillness so elusive? Part of our challenge is what we have been taught about rest and stillness.
We believe effort is more significant than rest or balance. Our society rewards effort, we are told. We believe we can work hard and lift ourselves by our own bootstraps. Finding the right work for us, and doing it well, defines us.
It is also clear to us there are few, if any, benefits to being still. We believe we need to stand up for ourselves. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Promoting ourselves has become a defining quality of our society.
Hazrat Kahn wrote in response to the values we typically practice. Spiritual life speaks to us in sublime stillness. We take time to listen and our hearts find rest.
Let My Heart Rest in Stillness
We cannot hear the voice of spiritual life in the din of shouting and argument. The call of God eludes us when we are trying to concentrate on so many things.
A contemplative practice of listening to sacred stillness allows us to hear.
Spiritual life does not speak to us when we are working as hard as we can to achieve it.
I pause to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and allow myself to find heart rest. We give ourselves permission to stop working so hard.
When we listen to sacred stillness we begin to receive what spiritual life has to give us.
Spiritual life is not a project or a program, not something we need to plan or earn.
Sacred stillness is all around us and within us. We take a moment to look at a rose and spiritual life within us recognizes spiritual life in the world around us.
Our hearts are tuned to the quietness which the stillness of nature inspires.
When will my heart rest today?
Where can I turn to give my mind and my heart rest?
[Image by maf04]
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.