Week Two - - - Day One
Connect to something Higher
As part of who you really are
PATHWAY EIGHT: BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD
Carol and I had an amazing day, that first twelve hour non-date, in which we discovered: hey, this could be the lifetime partner that I have (almost) been afraid to imagine might be out there for me.
Part of the wonderment was a spiritual sharing.
Maybe you can have a great relationship with a spiritual common ground, but I doubt it.
Anyway, I’d heard her talk enough to know that Christianity, in the sense of being a “Christ follower,” was very important to her. One of the parts of my life had been that, though I only occasionally went to church (I found a wonderful community on Orcas Island called the Orcas Island Community church, and had just begun to go, say every other Sunday, to a open and affirming and creative and really Christian church in Austin called Life in the City), I read and reread the four gospels every four or five years.
Nothing beyond Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but I kept being drawn back to the words of Jesus.
Recently, before this meeting/ opening with Carol, during my time at the Orcas Island community Church, I’d discovered the “Restored New Testament” a translation by Will Banstable, which included the Gospel of Thomas. This is worth looking at.
Anyway, we were into the night and had already gone out to dinner and had watched a Brene Brown TED talk on vulnerability and I asked:
“WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSES.”
One of Carol’s was: “Be still and know I am God.”
This lit up something in me.
It’s from the Old Testament, but I know enough about meditation and the wonders of finding the real self that is beneath all the blah blah words words to recognize this as an immensely important piece of wisdom.
In the yammer, in the thinking about even Life and God, or even about “the Now,” words disconnect you from the reality of Life experienced right now.
So, I didn’t know how much Carol applied this in her life, but I knew that this was an indication that she deeply wanted to know the God/ Spirit/ Real World that is deeper than and underneath words.
It turned out that this was a wish of hers that she had immense resistance to in some ways, so good was she at the “Human Doing” side of life, but the hint, the urge, the promise was there: She wanted to and hungered for the “Human Being” side of life.
And for you.
This is a daily practice that you can slip in in brief moments when you go outside and look at the sky or at some tress.
This is a daily practice you can delight in as you sip a cup of tea or coffee and just look out at the world, and avoid all the distraction of “the news,” or your phone, or “thinking” about your “to do” list.
To be present just with an empty mind, even for a few minutes as you sip your coffee can be immensely rewarding.
And taking walks in nature.
And taking the walk to your car.
And something like meditation, taking time to follow your breathing and see what silence you can find.
Don’t fight for silence.
Don’t demand that your mind have no thoughts.
And do, look for the silence between thoughts.
Or, look for the silence out of which thoughts come.
And here’s the best part: even as you are having thoughts or feelings some part of you can be knowing that.
What part is that?
Play with this:
Being still and know that I am God exercise #1
Twice a day, just sit
Maybe as meditation
Maybe on a bench outside
Maybe drinking a cup of tea or coffee
Have phone off and away
Have eyes opened or closed
Have the intention of allowing yourself the silence of any silence you can find
Do this for at least five minutes, roughly.
If you are “meditating” set a timer
If you are just “hanging out” take a guess toward at least five minutes and notice the urge to get up and “get things done.”
Resist this urge a few times
Enjoy “just being”
This is purposefully vague.
Later, meditation will be one of the suggested pathways, and inside of meditation taking the intention of following awareness rather than the objects of awareness (thoughts, feelings, sensations).
For now, though, if you meditate, see this as a chance to dwell as much as possible in a quiet mind.
Coffee, tea, nature: hang out with a quiet mind.
There are all sorts of things like “The Dao that can be spoken in not the Dao” that point to the empty quiet at the center of things.
And, that doesn’t matter.
Experience the stillness for yourself.
One breath at a time.
Be still, #2:
Look away from the page
Sense your body and your breathing
Look out a window if there is one
Look at something you might enjoy looking at if there is no window
Dwell in something like emptiness/ peace/ stillness for just a bit
A slight break can go a long ways.
And here’s a bit more of a break:
Be still, #3:
Go to a window
Move around your arms in some slow and pleasant motion
Bend your legs a little and feel a bit “rooted” into the floor
Enjoy gravity and breathing as two word free experiences
Enjoy whatever you are seeing outside the window
As before, indulge in this delight: TO BE A HUMAN BEING.
This life we have is precious.
We shouldn’t have to wait until we are near death or some loved one has died to realize that.
It’s precious every moment of every day.
And knowing this without words is one way we can feed our souls.