There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.
There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.
The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.
I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.
f and why I struggle to spend more time in silence
I have always been a fan of the mystics. They have such a deep connection with the “unknowable.” This piece by Richard Rohr has helped me to see that my thinking is totally non-linear and more in sync with the mystics. I have never seen things as totally right or wrong, left or right. I have always had an issue with totally scientific thinking. I don’t think it is wrong I just think that there is more. There is the intangible piece that I see (much more dimly than the true mystics). I think most of us have had a moment when the “unknowable” has broken through and we see “beyond.” It is what I seek to see more of and why I struggle to spend more time in silence and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
“When I use the word “mystical” I am referring to experiential knowing instead of just intellectual, textbook, or dogmatic knowing. A mystic sees things in their wholeness, connection, and union, not only their particularity. Mystics get a whole gestalt in one picture, beyond the sequential and separated way of seeing that most of us encounter in everyday life. In this, mystics tend to be closer to poets and artists than to linear thinkers. Obviously, there is a place for both, but since the European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there has been less and less appreciation of such seeing in wholes. The mystic was indeed considered an “eccentric” (off center), but maybe mystics are the most centered of all, which leads them to emphasizing love as the center, the goal, and the motivating energy of everything.
The word mystic is not a title of superiority. It’s rather that mystics see things differently. Mystics are nondual seers. They don’t think one side is totally right and the other side is totally wrong. They can see that each side has a part of the truth. When people on either side of any contentious issue cannot love one another, it means they don’t have the big message yet.” Richard Rohr
Today is Good Friday. A day to ponder about what it means to sacrifice.
Today, for some reason, my eyes hurt. I don’t know if it because of too much straining to read things but I’m not going to write much. I am putting drops in my eyes and resting them for the night. I’m a human with sore eyes but I did see this quote and it cheered me.
I love the mystics. Not just the Christian ones but any of them. Buddha, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard von Bingen, Confucius are just some of them. They are so focused. They spend time connecting with everything beyond themselves. Their understanding about what really matters is clear.
I wish that I spent the time in meditation and silence that would bring me even a little closer to their link with “everything.” To be so synced with the universe and our role in it would be wonderful.
I have experienced small amounts of this in the past and want to connect again. It is so hard to disconnect with everything going on around me. I continue to try and hope that I can find this kind of connection again. I will need to push to maintain a schedule until it becomes a habit.
What is is to search for our own soul. (It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is our inner core…our best self.) How do we turn away from the things that our society has led us to believe are the ultimate good? When are we able to grow enough to cast aside the ideas that we have been taught from birth?
Most of us who have spent our lives in western society have been taught to reach for things that are finite. We look to find joy and peace in things that fade. We want everything taken care of NOW! We are impatient and want pills to cure our ills that work fast. If we feel the slightest bit bored we want entertainment that distracts us from spending time with ourselves. We want to be as beautiful at 80 as we were at 25. The look of youth is the ultimate. We want things to feed our emptiness with…cars, jewelry, clothes, electronics, houses….anything to make us important. We want to seem important, looked up to and emulated. We think that these will be fulfilling. They won’t. Their rewards to us are ephemeral.
Turning away from these illusions and seeking the soul itself is a challenge. Can we go against society and understand that love and compassion and empathy and generosity are what matters? These are eternal.
Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.
Yesterday was a good day. We had lunch with out friend and dinner with my son and his family. Both of us won’t eat for several days. For some reason today I am sad. It may just be the let down from all the energy spent getting everything done.
It is strange that each Christmas seems to fall out differently. I miss a routine. I miss a Christmas I recognize. I know things will continue to change as we age but it would be nice to have a few more Christmas norms. I guess if my whole family lived here it wouldn’t be so hard but I don’t know many people who have their whole family in one place. My children had to go where the jobs were best and it was the right thing to do. We are blessed to have one here some people have no one.
I do miss the old Christmas. I wonder if we ought to pull a Kranks and just skip it but neither of us wants to do that. We really do love it and want to celebrate with whoever we can whether it is family or friends or whoever. I do remember the real reason for the celebration and will continue to give thanks.
Life does have ups and downs. We spend our lives accumulating…people, family, things and then we spend our “golden years” divesting ourselves of things. The family decreases on one end as it grows on the other. Our parents are gone and other family members but we have gained children, grandchildren and not great grandchildren. We will be the next generation sliding out and new generations will come. It is the cycle of life but sometimes it is hard. I remember my grandmother saying that she was a girl trapped in an old body. It is easy to feel that way. Sometimes I look at things from ancient eyes and sometimes not.
This blog has ended up sounding depressing but reflecting on my life span and where I am in the scheme of things is part of acceptance. No matter the past my life continues to be full. I am living each day, continuing to learn and grow. I will do that until I slip into the twilight.
This is the time of year when the Scrooge story is on TV. I started to think about the ghosts that visit him. Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. I always think about Christmas Past. I think about the time when we had small children and Christmas was so joyful and exciting. Seeing the children as they opened their presents was wonderful. That time is gone for me. I’m not sure I completely appreciated it. I didn’t lock it away and say to myself “remember this, it won’t come again.” We don’t usually think such thoughts when we are experiencing life. I don’t know if we have to or should. It might bring sadness into the picture….the thought that time is moving on and this moment will be gone.
Each phase of life is different. Years ago I studied Hindu thinking with a practitioner and liked the idea of the eight-fold path. We have important things to accomplish in the different ages we live. My age should be concerned with understanding life in all its aspects. I think that is what I am doing. I can look back…not to bemoan my faults …but to glean the wisdom I gained. I want to accomplish this and share what I discover.
I do miss the joys of Christmas Past but it was a different time and I can’t go back. I don’t think I want to. I just wish some of it would stick around. Instead we have another wonky Christmas. We will be gone next week for Hap’s therapy and my daughter will come the Friday we arrive back to celebrate early with us. She will be working Christmas week. We celebrate with my son and his family Christmas week. My other daughter and her family we will not get to see.
It is life. I will concentrate on the reason for the holiday and enjoy the family time that we will have. I don’t have time for regrets and wishing the past was back. I have too much living in the now to do. After all, who knows what Christmas Future will be.
The other night I had the strangest dream. I was in a situation where all I did was wait. I won’t explain the whole dream but it was obvious waiting was the point. I was with others and waited for hours. I got very upset and angry because the wait was due to poor management.
I don’t like confusion, poor planning, and waiting.
Years ago I learned the response to poor planning: “poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.” I actually used it once and then felt so bad that I have never said it again.
I think the dream was trying to remind me that there are times when we have to wait and we need to do it patiently. We also have to remember what we are waiting for, This season before Christmas is Advent. The dictionary says that Advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. If you are Christian then the wait is for the Christ child.
I am not sure in this day and age how seriously we consider this. There is so much else….shopping, parties, baking, decorating and sometimes traveling. We are so busy that there is not time. I doubt that those who are celebrating other holidays do any better at paying attention to the meaning of the holiday. I hope some do.
During this time before Christmas I plan to concentrate on the meaning of it all and try to move away from concentration on gifts and gatherings. I hope that my times of meditation and contemplation will help me to focus on what I am waiting for.
We so often talk about knowing ourselves. We want to see ourselves and know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Most of the time I don’t think that we are ready to see ourselves fully. The truth would be too painful.
I often think about this as standing in a bright light looking in a mirror. In the mirror we see our face unadorned. All the blemishes and flaws are totally revealed. If we see this most women are quick to add make up to cover what we see and make it acceptable to us. We hope that others will not see what we saw. The face we present to the world is different than the one in the mirror.
The same thing is true of us. We don’t really want to see all the flaws that would be revealed if we could really see what is inside. Our minds have doors that we don’t open. We say we want to see but we look without opening those doors.
I wonder if this is part of the reason that contemplation/meditation is so difficult. Not only is it not part of our culture but it can be revealing. Sitting in silence and letting the unconscious be in charge can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t really want to know.
The other side of the coin is that opening those doors and cleaning out those closets can bring us a peace that we can only imagine. We just have to be strong enough to accept what we find and let the ugliness drift away and hold on to the beauty. We will find beauty there as well and it can bring peace and help us to love ourselves.