Distilling Stillness

May 8th, 2013

Why Stillness Makes Me Weep

I am used to it now: crying during my morning times of stillness. It doesn't happen all the time; when it does I just let the tears come. Why do I cry?

Sometimes, I cry at the point of having touched a moment of burdenless ness. There are spaces and places in stillness where I feel as light as a feather. All burdens, worries, and cares are lifted, at least temporarily, and it's if I can just float away if I choose to do so. It is a moment of being fully relieved of all I've been carrying. I cry for the relief I am feeling, and I think, in part for the realization that I had been carrying all I had been carrying. Sometimes we don't know how much we are bearing until we drop the heavy load. Considering the weight for the first time is enough to make me cry sometimes.

Sometimes I cry from a sense of having bumped into myself, my truest deepest self, free and unmasked. The roles we fill in life can camouflage, and sometimes compromise, who we are at our essence. It is possible to be so busy trying to be so many things to so many people, that we lose a sense of who we are without reference to others and their expectations. In stillness, as all others and all expectations are gathered together for a time in a merciful waiting area outside my consciousness, someone who I may not recognize at first glance, appears. The someone turns out to be me: the me who is me unadorned by all. When I feel a sense of my deepest self, free from all expectations, dependencies, and false identities, I cry. This me feels whole from the inside out. He does not exist for acceptance, he exists from acceptance. He has no need whatsoever to overdo and overreach in order to fit in, because he has been outfitted from within, in a beautiful and comfortable robe of unconditional love.

Coming into mysterious contact with the source of such love is another reason for my crying. I have come to believe in a God of lavish love, grace, and mercy. I know that this love is real because in some moments of stillness majesty, I feel love all over me. When the love is all over me, I am...I am in heaven...and I cry. Feeling God's love--and listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing and Louis Armstrong play--are the best proofs I have for the existence of God. Blessing on blessing, there are moments when I sense where the love is coming from: A Presence Whose grace is as relentless as the world can sometimes be heartless. This Presence comforts and empowers me afresh with one of my best truths of all: Amid all the worrying and wounding, there is set free in the world a Spirit of Relentless Healing that will not be stopped, no matter what.

So, in those moments of feeling fully released of all burdens, or feeling like I have come into the company of myself, or feeling filled to overflowing with God's love, l cry. And there is a rainbow amid the tears. Thus, many more days than not, I take what St. John of The Cross referred to as “the exquisite risk”: the risk of surrendering our deepest heartfelt space to the sway of a Spirit, most holy, chancing that the sightings will be worth the surrender. Mark Nepo offers more helpful light on the best risk of all:

The exquisite risk is a doorway, then, that lets us experience the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is always near. Truth opens it. Love opens it. Humility opens it. And if stubborn, pain will intensify to open it. Sadness can open it, if felt to its center. Silence and time open it, if we enter them and don’t just watch them.

The Secret Sensational Power of Stillness

"Be still and know that I am God." —Psalm 46:10

Silencing our mental chatter is arguably the most important practice of all when it comes to creating, managing, and sustaining a fulfilling life. Here's why. When we are thinking about this and that, we are living a small, albeit splendid, dimension of ourselves. No matter how meaningful and vital our rational thinking is, it’s never all we are.

Think of your mental self as being the tip of a majestic iceberg. Stay with the iceberg image. Though its tip is what is seen, its larger mass lies unseen, submerged under water. Moreover, the vast ocean surrounding its mass is yet another portion of its expansive reality. Similarly, your conscious mind is the tip of your total being. Your greater submerged mass is commonly referred to as the subconscious mind, the place where hidden knowledge is stored. But there is even more to us. The water surrounding our conscious and subconscious minds is God's Mind: Limitless Creative Wisdom flowing playful and free, far beyond what the eyes can ever see or the rational mind alone can ever perceive. Maybe this is why Jesus says in John 4:14, "But the water I will give will become in you a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." When we limit ourselves to just our thinking, our mental chatter, we are missing out on the dynamism and wisdom of our deeper and wider sacred dimensions. How do we explore these amazing, yet unsung and unseen, dimensions? We explore them through stillness and silence. Quiet the mind through silent prayer, meditation, or just being still and empty in the moment, and all God's enchanting universe opens wide and wonderful for holy adventure.

What David said about being still is truer than most of us ever allow ourselves to know. But, should we choose to, we can know, and marvel and revel daily in such unspeakable knowing. Stillness is no joke, or just maybe the biggest reason of all, to laugh and leap for joy!

Excerpted from: Fulfilled: Living and Leading with Unusual Wisdom, Peace, and Joy by Kirk Byron Jones. Copyright © 2013 Abingdon Press. Used with permission.

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