Discerning Our Story in the Stillness
There is power in our stories; the stories we live, the stories which shape us, the stories we are discovering.
It takes us all our lives to discern our stories. There are pieces of our stories we were told when we were small children and pieces we learned in school. Some parts of our stories are hidden, buried under layers of distractions and debris. Parts of our story may be beyond our wildest imaginings.
There is no one who can tell us our own story. Some people may help us remember parts we have forgotten or help us see our experiences in a new light.
Each of us is sorting through and understanding our own story for ourselves.
We may believe our story is a dramatic one, or romantic, or an adventure. Some of us experience our stories as comedies and others as tragedies. Our stories may strike us as concluded too soon, or rambling on and on losing our interest.
It is impossible for us to read our own stories in books, no matter how many volumes we read.
Each of us must discern our own story for ourselves. We sit still, breathing deeply and listening to sacred stillness.
In the stillness, beyond thoughts and words, we tell ourselves our own stories.
Discovering and exploring our own stories, we sit listening to sacred stillness. In the stillness the parts of our stories we missed or which made no sense to us at the time become clearer. Obscure pieces start to fit together.
We begin to appreciate the meaning and purpose of our stories.
It is impossible for us to share our story with anyone else until we have discerned it for ourselves.
What parts of our stories will we discover today?
Sacred Stillness Reveals Our Story
Some of us like to believe the more times we share our stories the better we will understand them. We like to think we can practice telling our story until it becomes easy and familiar.
I enjoy sharing my story and listening to other people share theirs. One of the things I enjoy most is how much we learn each time to describe what we have experienced.
Sharing our stories is not about cataloguing all the details or remembering all the times and dates.
Our story grows and develops as time passes. Some of the things we used to remember vividly were not particularly significant. As I reflect on my story, sitting and listening to sacred stillness, I begin to appreciate different aspects of it.
As we share our stories someone asks us questions which help us see things in new ways. We share our stories together and they become more than they were when they lived in our heads alone.
When we listen to sacred stillness we are sharing our stories with spiritual life. Spiritual life is present within us, actively showing us new aspects of ourselves.
I do not need to be focused on a particular aspect of my story to discern more by listening to sacred stillness. When I sit still and listen I am giving my consent for spiritual life to be alive and active within me. I am open to the possibilities and staying out of my own way.
It is not unusual for me to, later in the day, remember a person or an experience I had not thought about for some time.
Listening to sacred stillness reveals our own story to us.
Our Story is In the Stillness All Around Us
Discerning our stories in the sacred stillness all around us is not about cramming for an exam.
We take time to listen, allowing sacred stillness and our stories to flow over us and wash us in their truths. Listening to sacred stillness is not straining to hear each syllable of every nuance. We are not struggling to catch the intonation and every accent of each word.
Our listening is about pausing to breathe deeply and realize our story is in the stillness of the world around us. We hear our story in the sound of a fresh breeze and of our own breath. Our story is in the sound of our feet as we take a step.
Listening to the stillness allows us to get past the noise and distractions which hide our stories from us. We set aside our forgetting and the ways we have rewritten our stories and find them intact.
For me, it is almost as if I have hidden pieces of my story in each of my experiences. As I sit and listen spiritual life is in me discovering and bringing together the hiding parts of my stories.
Sitting and listening my story is reintegrated within me.
Our Story is In the Sacred Stillness Within Us
We are each discovering our own stories and the story we share.
Parts of our stories are hidden deep within us. Listening to sacred stillness allows us to hear the stories only we can hear.
When we listen we give permission to whatever is hidden within us to emerge from wherever it is hiding. Our listening is not stalking or hunting what is hiding within us. We are creating a safe space for our stories to come out and tell about themselves.
The sacred stillness within us holds the pieces of our stories from which we protect ourselves.
Spiritual life is alive and working within us revealing what has been hidden.
Our stories come alive to show us more than we could have imagined. What has been broken and buried within us becomes able to tell us more of our whole story.
The parts of our story which have made us feel afraid or uncomfortable become the parts which show us the greatest joy.
How will we discern our story in sacred stillness today?
Where will we go to discover the pieces of our story we have hidden from ourselves this week?
[Image by a.affleck]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He has served as an assistant district attorney, an associate university professor, and is 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.