Epiphany Grows in Stillness
Epiphany grows in stillness, drawing us into deeper understanding and appreciation of the life within us.
Some of us try to cultivate our epiphanies, encouraging them to grow in neat rows according to our schedule. We would appreciate being able to plan them out and have them bloom at regular intervals. Then we could journal about these hothouse epiphanies and show them off.
We come to realize, though, we cannot domesticate epiphanies. Epiphany grows in stillness, in the wild, and resists our efforts to manage and control manifestations of spiritual life.
The epiphanies we receive are not the results of our own efforts. They are not rewards we have earned or ordered guideposts to move us forward on our organized spiritual journeys.
Epiphanies are, by definition, surprises. They are not typically surprise parties, but more usually surprises like running into a piece of furniture in the dark.
The epiphanies I remember do not announce themselves with large headlines or flashing lights or sirens. In my experience, each epiphany grows in stillness and I need to spend time listening to sacred stillness to recognize it.
We limit ourselves when we are convinced we already know what we need, or want, to know. It is impossible for us to see what is waiting for us in the dark, in the stillness, because we choose to see only one way.
Epiphany grows in stillness and we are busy paying attention to loud noises and shiny objects.
How can spiritual life reveal itself to us when we are busy looking and listening for something else?
We cannot take credit for our epiphanies because we neither produce nor cause them. They grow wild, in stillness, and we stumble upon them. We do not earn or control them, they are gifts to us.
Epiphany Grows in Stillness Each Year
I am a member of a liturgical church. We get together to remember our story and to share a meal.
Epiphany is a liturgical season which follows the twelve days of Christmas. It begins tomorrow, on the morning after Twelfth Night. Epiphany grows in stillness each year to remind us through our shared story how spiritual life is manifest in our everyday lives.
Epiphany is about how the world and everyone in it is a revelation spiritual life and our everyday lives are inseparable.
Each moment reveals spiritual life is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. It cannot be torn out, no matter how hard we try.
Wherever we look spiritual life manifests itself to us. Walking on a beach along the ocean, hiking a trail in a forest, rocking in a chair looking out over mountains, or watching snow or rain fall, our story carries us forward. Earth and plants and animals, light and dark; the primal elements draw us toward deeply sacred truths.
The voice of sacred stillness is in the sound of flowing water, rain on the roof, the rhythm of our own footsteps. We recognize the face of spiritual life as we watch the light of a candle or the sun coming above the horizon. Spiritual life is in the sun on our skin and in a warm embrace. Its fragrance is in the aroma of fresh air and of freshly baked bread. We taste spiritual life in an excellent meal and in well-crafted brews.
Our stories are full of things which direct our attention to the sacred in our lives and the people around us.
Epiphany grows in stillness, reminding us to stop, breathe, and remember the sacred infusing our everyday life.
Epiphany Grows in Stillness For Us to Discover
Each of us seeks spiritual insights and illumination in our own unique ways. We must be open to trying new approaches or practices even when we think we know what works best for us.
Contemplative practices are based in how we understand spiritual life is working in us. We may be more comfortable with our thinking or with physical activity. Spiritual life lives in us no matter how we understand or experience it.
Our openness to spiritual life is not about finding the proper or correct methods of spiritual practices. We are not more open because we believe certain things or less open when we believe others.
We are not stalking spiritual life. Our spiritual journey is not about hunting for our next epiphany, our next realization, or the next step ascending the ladder of spiritual insight.
Each moment of each day is a walk in the forest. We practice breathing the fresh air and walking with the tall, welcoming trees. The walk restores our souls.
Then, when we least expect it, we stop and recognize epiphany grows in stillness. We listen to sacred stillness and hear spiritual life all around us and within us.
Epiphany Grows in Stillness As We Listen
Our epiphanies do not only happen during the liturgical season of Epiphany.
Liturgical churches can become caught up in traditions and history. They seem to have a sense of doing things the same way each year because it is how they have always been done.
Epiphany, shedding new light and new insight, is almost an antidote to maintaining traditions.
Each year, each new season, each day is filled with new insights and illumination for us. Our experiences, the people we meet, our thoughts and emotions, spark new epiphanies for us.
We discover Epiphany by not allowing ourselves to fall into established habits and ways of thinking. Epiphany works like other spiritual practices. Each epiphany illuminates new possibilities.
Epiphany grows in stillness. It is not about developing mastery or consistency or regularity every day. Each day is unique and holds insights of its own.
Epiphany grows in stillness when we listen and appreciate how spiritual life is woven into our everyday lives. Each experience is a new insight, a new window into deep wisdom.
How will we remember Epiphany grows in stillness today?
What insights will we gain because Epiphany grows in stillness this week?
[Image by Dano]
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.