We Begin in Stillness
Sitting and listening in stillness is how we start.
We give ourselves and our imaginations a little time in stillness to find our next starting point. Some of us need to sit quietly and rest before we begin thinking in a new direction. We may take time to make sure of what we want to do next.
Some of us spend time with our plans and goals and expectations, testing to find ant weaknesses.
Sometimes we need to just sit still and sort out where we are. We get caught up in what we are doing and where we are trying to go. There are times when we push so hard to swim upstream we need to be still and remember.
Our lives are ongoing experiences of beginning again and again. We believe in the power and value of starting, and of starting over.
Some of us take time regularly to listen to sacred stillness and reorient ourselves. We recognize our tendency to lose our way and we take practical steps to remember. It is easy for us to distract ourselves and get lost, so we stop and take time to breathe in stillness.
We find our new beginnings in stillness. It is important for us to discard all those things which divert our attention. Setting aside our distractions we are able to pay attention again and start over.
Sometimes we become too focused on what we are trying to do or trying to learn. We forget to stop and listen.
Our new beginnings grow out of time we spend in stillness. Stillness sparks our imaginations. We reflect, asking new questions and gaining new insights, in stillness.
When we get stuck we know it is time to spend time listening in stillness to find our way.
We begin in stillness.
We End in Stillness
When we finish we find ourselves standing still.
It is almost as if each project we have is a race we are running. We are still until the race begins and we run as hard and fast as we can until we are finished. When we cross the finish line we slow down until we are standing still, struggling to breathe.
Some of us sit or lie down on the grass until we catch our breath and calm our hearts.
There are times when we sit in stillness at the end of the race because we have exceeded our expectations. We have run faster or further than we thought we could. Some of us know how it feels to break the tape and win the race.
Other times we tumble into stillness because we have exhausted our resources. We have pushed ourselves as far as we could and have nothing more to give. Sitting in stillness is all we can do.
We may feel exhilarated or exhausted at the end of a project, or maybe a little of both.
Whether we have exceeded expectations or not, we have reached the end. There is nothing more to be done, nothing more to be said. We end in stillness.
Some of us experience stillness as threatening or intimidating. We are not comfortable with what stillness has to offer us and it does not feel familiar or secure. When we are still we are convinced we are at the end.We may feel fear or anxiety about spending time in stillness, particularly as we grow older. Some of us believe we are being left alone in stillness.
There is peaceful joy in stillness along with solitude. Our days have a rhythm which begins and ends in stillness.
Beginnings and Endings in Stillness
Many of us experience our lives as a series of beginnings and endings, starting and finishing.
We begin school and we finish it. Our resume is a list of when we began and when we ended particular jobs. Some of us look back and see our lives as a series of starting and ending significant relationships.
Our focus is on the specific threads which are woven into our lives. We live lives, in fact, which are tapestries comprised of many patterns, many textures, many colors.
Each day we weave our way from stillness, through dramatic activity, back to stillness.
We begin our days in stillness, waking up each morning to new perspectives and opportunities. The patterns of our everyday lives may vary each day. We weave stillness into the tapestry of our lives when we practice listening to sacred stillness.
Some of us are more in tune with contemplative practices than others. We each create our own pattern of stillness and action, light and dark, striving and rest.
As we strive as hard as we can we find ourselves returning to stillness each evening.
We begin and we end in stillness.
Finding Our Way in Stillness
Spiritual life draws us into lives of exploration.
Whether we feel comfortable or not, spiritual life encouraged us to discover our true potential. We are not satisfied by accepting things at face value. Spiritual life teaches us the things we have always assumed are not necessarily essential truths.
We explore by struggling through the undergrowth of what we thought we believed. It is a challenge to find our way and appreciate where we are. We also explore as we sit in stillness, breathing deeply and listening.
Finding our way begins with our practice of listening to sacred stillness. We sit in stillness with our eyes closed, breathing deeply and being open to the stillness.
Our exploration begins in stillness. We explore, discovering new truths along the way, until we finish in stillness.
Spiritual life is not like running a race which is marked out for us. Looking and listening, we explore new approaches.
We find our way just as we reach the point when we are ready to stop.
Our path takes us from stillness to stillness. We listen and stillness leads us forward.
How will we begin and end in stillness today?
Where will finding our way in stillness lead us this week?
[Image by nicolasnova]
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.