Resting in Warm Summer Stillness
How is summer going for us so far? Are we settling into warm summer stillness?
Kids are out of school and we can spend more time together. Summer may feel a little calmer or more deliberate than the rest of the year. We have more time for picnics, corn on the cob, and fireworks.
For some of us, summer feels just as frenetic as every other part of the year. Work does not slow down and there seem to be even more things for us to do. We may take a little time to relax and go to the beach, but so does everyone else.
Some of us even work harder in summer than we do in other seasons. Summer is not a vacation, but the time when our real work begins.
Like all the other parts of our lives, our experience of summer shapes how we approach spiritual life.
We may have memories of summers which feed our expectations. Do we want to recreate experiences of summer camp or family vacations? Some of us remember summers when we learned deep lessons, summers which changed our lives.
For some of us summer means having a slower, less pressured pace of life. We may have opportunities to reflect and take stock of our lives we do not have at other times. Summer can be a time when we realize how we have grown or changed over the last year.
Many of us experience spiritual life like summer. Spiritual life can feel like we have expectations to meet and extra things to accomplish. For others of us spiritual life is filled with reminders of what our lives used to be like, of experiences we used to have.
Experiencing Summer Stillness
Some of us find deeper spiritual life by listening to sacred stillness. Our contemplative practices help us become more open to spiritual life within and around us.
We find spiritual life is like resting in warm summer stillness. Some of us have waited nine months to be reminded of warm summer stillness again.
Each season, each day, each moment, has a sacred stillness all its own. We practice listening to sacred stillness and learn to savor each special stillness for itself.
Many of us find it helpful to choose a warm spot to sit and listen to summer stillness. We settle in and make ourselves comfortable, closing our eyes and taking deep breaths. We listen to sacred summer stillness and allow our selves, bodies and minds, to rest.
Some of us are comfortable in the warmth of the sun while others of us prefer a cool breeze. We may sit indoors or outdoors, or find grass in which to lie down. It might help us to be by ourselves or to be with other people who are also listening to sacred stillness.
It is not important for us to understand the stillness or decipher what it is telling us. We are not preparing a transcript of what summer stillness is saying. What is essential for us is to listen.
We take time to listen. In the swirl of all our responsibilities and tasks, we are listening to sacred stillness.
Our practice is not an intellectual, analytical exercise. We are not dissecting summer stillness, trying to categorize it or differentiate it from other kinds of stillness. Listening to sacred summer stillness is not about studying stillness.
We listen to sacred stillness and practice being open to what the stillness has to give us.
There is nothing else we need to do.
Listening to Warm Summer Stillness
I get up early on a summer morning as the day is dawning to listen to sacred summer stillness. The air is already warm.
Breathing deeply with my eyes closed, I relax and repeat a word which helps me let go of distractions. It is easy for me to get caught up in what I need to do today or what I want to prepare for breakfast. The emails I wish I had sent yesterday and phone calls I wish I had already made demand my attention. The people or places I care about often seem to appear in my mind’s eye.
My focus is on not being focused. My goal is not to have a goal. For a few minutes the limitations and restrictions of life fade into darkness. Even the warmth of a summer morning does not distract me.
Sitting and listening to sacred summer stillness I am open to the stillness within me and around me.
Each morning has its own stillness. The warm stillness of summer is enticing, drawing us to remain sitting and listening. While the world around us continues to sleep we rest into sacred summer stillness.
I am not ready to step into a new day without listening to its stillness.
Seeking Summer Stillness
There are days when sacred stillness seems to be elusive. So many things fill our hearts and minds and pull at our attention and we cannot listen well. We feel the stillness is hiding from us, though we are hiding from it behind all our distractions.
Filling our lives with distractions to hide us we cannot find the rest we need. Everything gets in our way. It is only as we remember and listen to sacred stillness we can take time to truly rest.
Whether or not we take time to practice listening to sacred stillness is our choice to make. We can listen to sacred stillness or we can continue to hide.
The best day to begin or continue a practice of listening to stillness is today.
Each season has its own flavor of sacred stillness. Summer stillness is warm and inviting.
We can join with others around the world and practice listening to sacred stillness each day. Resting in warm summer stillness helps us begin each day with fresh insights.
Where will we seek warm and sacred summer stillness today?
When will we take time for summer stillness this week?
[Image by anoldent]
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.