Stillness

POETRY: I Said To My Soul, Be Still, And Let The Dark Come Upon You by T. S. Eliot

December 5, 2018

(from Four Quartets) I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away— Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing— I said to my soul, be still, and wait [...]

HEALING: The Difference Between Knowledge And Understanding

September 30, 2014

Somewhere, sometime, someone turned the light on us. To my mind, it all began with Freud, with his glaring assertions that he could look inside me and tell me who I am. And then came the obsession with everyone, everywhere, telling everybody else everything there was to know about them. When I was three, I tripped over a tree root in the forest and got a bloody nose. And so on. It came, I think, from the belief that things known, things brought to consciousness, are good things. That in order to heal, knowledge is key. Knowledge, in today’s thinking, is our saving grace. Leaving aspects of our lives in our unconscious is considered unhealthy. It assumes, of course, that healing is up to the human being; that God and life and time [...]

GOD 101: Flow And Stillness

September 9, 2014

And so I looked into the eyes of God. Not God God, exactly, but God, the Father, who had taken shape in a vision and stood there talking with me. I didn’t hear any of his words consciously, not enough to remember them, or even to remember that I heard them. I remember a few of my words.  Just a few.  Nothing of significance. But I remember looking into his eyes. And then for an instant – not even as long as it would take to take a breath – I was behind the eyes looking out. Right before that instant began, as I looked into his eyes, he had the look of confusion.  He was confused by my statement: Something is wrong with this world.  It should be safe for children to live here. And then the looking out. At me.  At you. [...]

LISTENING: Birdsong — Learning The Difference Between Listening And Waiting To Talk by Anne D. LeClaire

June 6, 2014

From Listening Below the Noise When she first arrived at her uncle’s estate and was exploring the grounds, Mary Lennox caught sight of a bird with a bright red breast sitting on the topmost branch of a tree, “and suddenly he burst into his winter song – almost as if he had caught sight of her and was calling to her.” On one particular morning my friend Ann and I were sitting in her backyard, which is bordered by woods.  Suddenly Ann leaned forward, her body as poised as a hunting dog in point. “Listen,” she whispered. “What?” I concentrated. Ann cocked her head.  Her face was lit with delight.  “Carolina wren,” she said. From the woods, I heard the call.  Three clear [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Tenth Station — Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

March 9, 2013

From The Journey to Peace After the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and divided them four ways, one for each soldier. There was also his tunic, but this tunic was woven in one piece from top to bottom and had no seam.  They said to each other, “We should not tear it.  Let us throw dice to see who gets it.”  (The purpose of this was to have the Scripture fulfilled: “They divided my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.”)  And this was what the soldiers did. (John 19:23-24) Faith and Goodness Triumph Over Evil A friend of mine brought back a book of photographs that he bought at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.  Its title is The Holocaust, and it was published by the Martyrs and Heroes [...]

A MEDITATION: On Reverence — Through the door of stillness

January 31, 2012

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. (Albert Einstein) Due to circumstances beyond my control, last fall I found myself attending one of the start-up Anglican mission churches in my area.  It was radically evangelistic, making quite a shocking contrast to my somber, foggy, high-church Anglo-Catholic tradition.  What were considered hymns were projected up on a screen, with appropriate art flashing up the words.  There were no prayerbooks.  There were no kneelers.   So I satisfied myself with sitting during prayers, except when I couldn’t stand it, as during the confession, when I just knelt on the carpet. I must have stood out like a sore thumb. After a few weeks, having adjusted somewhat to [...]

POETRY: In Silence, by Thomas Merton

January 3, 2012

Be still. Listen to the stones of the wall. Be silent, they try to speak your name. Listen to the living walls. Who are you? Who are you? Whose silence are you? Who (be quiet) are you (as these stones are quiet). Do not think of what you are still less of what you may one day be. Rather be what you are (but who?) be the unthinkable one you do not know. O be still, while you are still alive, and all things live around you speaking (I do not hear) to your own being, speaking by the unknown that is in you and in themselves. “I will try, like them to be my own silence: and this is difficult. The whole world is secretly on fire. The stones burn, even the stones they burn me. How can a man be still or listen to all things burning? How can he [...]