Be Still and Know…
OBSERVATIONS ON LIFE from m. Claire
Be Still, And Know
This morning I began my day with a naked stretch to the heavens, having slept outside under the dim starlight with my Beloved Other. Though the evening sky had been full of smoke from Northern California fires, we yearned to be outside and closer to nature, and so we were - chaperoned throughout the night by what looked like a harvest moon, burning orange and yellow and moving in a long, graceful arc above us as we dreamed.
I had awakened feeling content — held by something throughout the night. Something holy, good, deep and silent. I awoke filled with a Knowing and a certainty that I am Love…
Dressing lightly, and not yet wanting to enter the full day of planning and errand-running and repacking ahead, I instead took myself to Ashland’s Lithia park to sit amongst everything green. I turned my face to the first rays of sunlight that passed through cedar, fir, spruce, pine, maple and oak. Perched on a stone by the creek I breathed in the cool air that rose off the surface of the chuckling water and cradled a soft and gentle book called “Planet Walker” written by a man named John Francis, who has devoted the prior 22 or more years of his life to silence, and to walking, and to the education of human beings and how we can be doing better for our dear and blessed planet, and how we can be doing better for one another.
Strangers passed by me, one, a Parks & Rec. employee who nodded a kind and cursory hello, slightly startled, as if I may have been a skunk or possum out for an early morning dip. A painter passed by next and gave me a happy grin as he explained that it was tough to find a restroom open this early in the morning, no doubt already on his way to a painting job to try to beat the quickly rising temperature in the valley.
And even though I had held images of reading quietly in the early morning hours of the park, I was reminded how important is the exchange of a nod, or a generous and easy grin, or the gentle meeting of a passing stranger’s eyes. And I realized suddenly that I wanted the word “stranger” to become non-existent. And I remembered again that in a world of growing challenge and change of monumental proportion, smiles and soft eyes have become a beacon for me whenever someone gifts it — a cherished, blessed reminder of what is possible for Humankind, and what matters, and why we’re here. And mostly I was reminded that this requires no words at all.
As I listened to the dawn of the summer-bustling city, I wondered how many of us had awakened with a Knowing blooming softly inside. How many of us were one blade of grass away from finally making that change in our individual mythos — our “story” — that would finally lead us to our own Awakening for the benefit of The Whole. I believe that each of us has a Knowing of what is truly needed in order to finally have peace, serenity, and live in Love. Although the out-picturing of that choice may appear different for each of us, I believe that the place to which we go to offer the question is the same: Within. And that by going within, we find the blessed space of Silence that is our “earpiece” for a Higher wisdom that can come to us, through us, as us.
My experience is that no matter what form it takes — Nature, Meditation, Breathwork, Prayer — slowing down enough to actually hear and feel and sense and intuit the higher wisdom available to us is essential in order to bring through a Higher Awareness, and a Deeper Knowledge. What is it that is keeping you from deepening into your own inner wisdom? Caffeine? Alcohol? Email and Internet? Overworking? Overexercising? Overeating? Overdoing?
What is that thing you have not yet tried, when you’ve tried everything else? For most of us, it is slowing down - even if for a half -hour a day - to create a container of Stillness for Divine wisdom and Love to speak to us, and to meet us in our fear or our grief or confusion, and say to us gently, “Yes — to your great surprise — it is here that you will find yourself not alone, but companioned — by the Great Universe Itself and all the Love contained in it. It is here in this silence, that you find yourself, and are found.”
On his birthday a few years later, John Francis felt inspired to try to spend the day in silence, and so gathered backpack, paints, pencil and paper, food and water, and set out into the dawn hopeful about finding his true place in the scheme of things — hopeful about belonging, if only for one, precious day.
Quite organically, his day of silence extended into a 22-year sojourn, and what began as an inner commitment and inclination became an outer commitment and an ongoing-choice-made-conscious: statement and a vehicle of awareness both for himself and for others. Francis inserts a quote by Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, that puts into as few words as possible my own heart’s knowing of how to stay connected; how to make any sense of it all at this time in our evolution, and how to find a sense of belonging to myself; to the Godself; to the All of Life.
“There are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence… And among these people, if they are faithful to their own calling, to their own vocation and to their own message from God, communication on the deepest level is possible. And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.”
I believe that all of us know this, and that this communion is available to us in an instant. And that each of us knows before the mind has a chance to rationalize it yet one more time, those choices we continue to make that keep us from finally coming to rest in the depth of our very own Being. In this home of Silence we realize that we in fact do have it all. Peace. Love. Harmony. Quietude. Solace, and Companionship that blooms from within. It is an identification with a different reality than the one we have become habituated to, and it is one that for me feels like the direct experiencing of the word, “Holy”.
And this Holiness, is You. Found in the container of Silence, and held within every cell, awaiting the light of your soft attention.
Please ask for the help you need in order to make whatever this change is, that will bring you finally Home, to your own heart and to the heart of Life.
There are many mentors and guides who have walked every single step you have taken, and know the many bends in the path, the hills and the valleys, the vistas and resting points ahead. Use them. They have devoted their entire lives to the cessation of suffering.
If there are specific helps you need, please feel free to read the list below and hopefully this can aid you in your next step. I stand beside you with love, compassion, and as a Sister on your journey, taking the same steps to a higher consciousness.
– m. Claire
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Be Still and Know…