Stillness Extends Under the Surface
It can be tempting to spend our time skimming across the surface of life. We believe we are doing well, floating along, letting life carry us. We may even feel satisfied. Going under the surface is intimidating, too much of a challenge for us.
We realize, though, riding along the surface is wearing us out. There are so many things to distract us, to confuse us, to draw us out of our rhythm.
Some days it seems to be too much for us. Responsibilities and expectations wash us away as soon as we wake up in the morning. Checking our phone or turning on the computer can send us spinning out of control.
We may drift through our days feeling exhausted and discouraged. It feels like we spend all our time and effort staying where we already are. Battered by the waves, we work hard just trying to stay afloat.
Keeping our heads above the surface, day after day, becomes too much for us.
Even the ways we try to connect with other people have become inundated. Spaces where we are supposed to be surrounded by friends are full of disputes.
There must be more to life than this! We bring ourselves to the point where, just holding on, we do not want to listen anymore.
Our ability to listen is drowning in conflicts and criticism, argument and advertising.
We tell ourselves there must be something more than this, something under the surface.
Even as we look for something more than drifting across the surface we fear deeper stillness. As uncomfortable as we might be struggling to keep our heads above water, the alternative intimidates us.
We see ourselves as stuck, trapped in the shallow life we experience each day. Where can we turn to find freedom and meaning?
Why Do We Fear Diving Under the Surface Into Stillness?
The idea of diving into deeper stillness intrigues many of us.
Some of us find the potential of stillness too overwhelming. We may want to explore deep stillness, to discover what it has to teach us. Our experience may include a small taste of deep stillness, but we are hesitant to go further.
Other people enjoy the idea they control their own destiny. They are reluctant to try anything in which they do not have their feet planted firmly on the ground.
Some of us draw our security from the idea we are responsible for taking care of ourselves. We are nervous about trusting anyone or anything else outside ourselves.
There are people who have not seriously considered what deep stillness has to offer. Their experience shapes their perspective. Why would they rock the boat and put what they know at risk?
Each of us is drawn to deeper stillness in our own unique, personal ways. We each have a glimmer of what waits for us under the surface of stillness and how it attracts us. There may be a tremendous amount we do not yet understand. What we already see and know shines a blinding light in our eyes.
If each of us has our own glimpse under the surface of deeper stillness, why are we afraid?
We recognize the potential power of stillness in our lives. Some of us realize how much deeper stillness can change us, how different our lives could become. Others may be overwhelmed by more power than we can imagine.
The challenge for many of us comes when we recognize how different our lives could be.
We may believe we need to change before we can explore deeper stillness. It is hard for us to open ourselves to how deep stillness can change us.
How Do We Begin Diving Under the Surface of Deeper Stillness?
We do not need to become different, better people to dive into deep stillness.
As we learn to open ourselves and allow stillness in, we are filled with its power. It is almost as if our most important step is to stop struggling.
No matter how nervous or anxious stillness can make us, we do not need to fear deep stillness. We do not need to keep our heads above the surface, fighting to stay afloat.
It may begin for us with a few minutes each day.
We can start by deciding not to struggle against all the distractions for five minutes a day. It may help us to find a regular place to spend our five minutes. We may appreciate five minutes of quiet, but quiet is not necessary for stillness.
It helps me if I am not driving.
For five minutes a day we are not going to worry about the waves of everything. We close our eyes and listen to sacred stillness. As we listen, we are drawn in and we find ourselves diving under the surface into deeper stillness.
We can feel stillness washing over us, soothing our minds and our spirits. The more deeply we dive the better it feels. For five minutes a day we are at play in the deep, sacred stillness.
We do not need to be perfect, at the same time every day.It is not about forcing ourselves or following rules.
The deep, sacred stillness draws us in and we dive deeper.
We Are Eager to Explore Under the Surface of Stillness
As we open ourselves to the joys and lessons of stillness, we find ourselves.
We are not the people caught up in struggling to stay on the surface. Diving under the surface, we begin to see this is where we belong.
Sacred stillness draws us in and restores our life. We dive deeper, exploring what life has for us.
We discover the sacred stillness all around us is the same as the stillness within us.
Our life is not about staying on the surface, clinging to the wreckage. We were born to be diving under the surface into deeper stillness.
What could possibly scare us away?
Where will we dive under the surface into deeper stillness today?
How are we exploring under the surface of deep stillness this week?
[Image by vincentspix]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and 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.