Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.~Morgan Freeman
There’s No Escaping the Manuscript Behind My Brow
Behind my brow, there’s a virtual manuscript that my mind starts to read and attach to when I’m “trying” to be still. Sometimes during those few minutes before sleep when I’m laying down with my eyes closed or when I’m sitting in silence to meditate, there’s a full editorial meeting involving checklists, drama, and fictitious scenarios at work that my mind plays out. It loves the activity, the intrigue, the thought movement. My brain can flip through the pages with vigor.
Sometimes the manuscript turns into a full fledged movie, and my brain gets sucked in like a kid in front of a television. Even as this is happening, I’m observing like a producer, and another voice sneaks in the back door and says, “hey we should be meditating here.”
Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with mind-made movies that inevitably result in anxiety, worry, fear, or guilt. As life is an ever evolving work in progress, I still experience this now and again. If I’m not careful to bring my awareness back to my breath, back to the moment, I can go down a “Watership Down” sized rabbit hole that leaves me exhausted with a headache. I have the subtle crease in my brow from years of furrowing to show for it.
What’s a yogini to do? Accept and surrender. Accept with open arms who you are, mental checklists and all, and listen. Surrender to the present moment without expectation or interpretation, and sit with the feelings that you’re experiencing. Without closing your eyes, scrunching your brow and trying to disappear and avoid the feelings and activity, be with it. Skip the escape and surrender.
If thoughts come in, imagine that they are clouds floating in and out of your mind independent of you. You are not your thoughts. You are not the manuscript. -a.c.y.
Can you relate? Stillness is a blessed gift that when it is gone it is surely missed. I further find “stillness” so accurately described in an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart, of which all sincere conversation is the worship, to which all right action is submission; that overpowering reality which confutes our tricks and talents, and constrains every one to pass for what he is, and to speak from his character, and not from his tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand, and become wisdom, and virtue, and power, and beauty. We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist, and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul. Only by the vision of that Wisdom can the horoscope of the ages be read, and by falling back on our better thoughts, by yielding to the spirit of prophecy which is innate in every man, we can know what it saith. Every man’s words, who speaks from that life, must sound vain to those who do not dwell in the same thought on their own part. I dare not speak for it. My words do not carry its august sense; they fall short and cold. Only itself can inspire whom it will, and behold! their speech shall be lyrical, and sweet, and universal as the rising of the wind. Yet I desire, even by profane words, if I may not use sacred, to indicate the heaven of this deity, and to report what hints I have collected of the transcendent simplicity and energy of the Highest Law.
(from ‘Essays, First Series , “The Over-Soul,”‘ Ralph Waldo Emerson)
|Synonyms:||altruism - compassion - good will – thoughtfulness – understanding|
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
~ Og Mandino (American Essayist and Psychologist, 1923-1996)
Living kindness brings about positive changes in not only one’s attitude, but it cultivates loving-acceptance. A perfect example is contained in the words of one of my favorite authors, Henry David Thoreau. I share a letter from Thoreau to his beloved friend (and another one of my favorite authors), Ralph Waldo Emerson. Kindness simply does not go out of date or expire. Its life line is infinite, able to span centuries and eons.
The Dial Period
by F. B. Sanborn
The Atlantic Monthly, May 1892
DEAR FRIEND, — As the packet still tarries, I will send you some thoughts, which I have lately relearned, as the latest public and private news.
How mean are our relations to one another! Let us pause till they are nobler. A little silence, a little rest, is good. It would be sufficient employment only to cultivate true ones.
The richest gifts we can bestow are the least marketable. We hate the kindness which we understand. A noble person confers no such gift as his whole confidence: none so exalts the giver and the receiver; it produces the truest gratitude. Perhaps it is only essential to friendship that some vital trust should have been reposed by the one in the other. I feel addressed and probed even to the remote parts of my being when one nobly shows, even in trivial things, an implicit faith in me. When such divine commodities are so near and cheap, how strange that it should have to be each day’s discovery! A threat or a curse may be forgotten, but this mild trust translates me. I am no more of this earth; it acts dynamically; it changes my very substance. I cannot do what before I did. I cannot be what before I was. Other chains may be broken, but in the darkest night, in the remotest place, I trail this thread. Then things cannot happen. What if God were to confide in us for a moment! Should we not then be gods? How subtle a thing is this confidence!
Nothing sensible passes between; never any consequences are to be apprehended should it be misplaced. Yet something has transpired. A new behavior springs; the ship carries new ballast in her hold. A sufficiently great and generous trust could never be abused. It should be cause to lay down one’s life, — which would not be to lose it. Can there be any mistake up there? Don’t the gods know where to invest their wealth? Such confidence, too, would be reciprocal. When one confides greatly in you, he will feel the roots of an equal trust fastening themselves in him. When such trust has been received or reposed, we dare not speak, hardly to see each other; our voices sound harsh and untrustworthy. We are as instruments which the Powers have dealt with. Through what straits would we not carry this little burden of a magnanimous trust! Yet no harm could possibly come, but simply faithlessness. Not a feather, not a straw, is entrusted; that packet is empty. It is onlycommitted to us, and, as it were, all things are committed to us.
The kindness I have longest remembered has been of this sort, — the sort unsaid; so far behind the speaker’s lips that almost it already lay in my heart. It did not have far to go to be communicated. The gods cannot misunderstand, man cannot explain. We communicate like the burrows of foxes, in silence and darkness, under ground. We are undermined by faith and love. How much more full is Nature where we think the empty space is than where we place the solids! — full of fluid influences. Should we ever communicate but by these? The spirit abhors a vacuum more than Nature. There is a tide which pierces the pores of the air. These aerial rivers, let us not pollute their currents. What meadows do they course through? How many fine mails there are which traverse their routes! He is privileged who gets his letter franked by them.
I believe these things.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, novelist and dramatist.
Trust yourself to do the things that only you know best
Trust yourself to do what’s right and not be second-guessed
Don’t trust me to show you beauty
When beauty may only turn to rust
If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself.
Trust yourself to know the way that will prove true in the end
Trust yourself to find the path where there is no if and when
Don’t trust me to show you the truth
When the truth may only be ashes and dust
If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself.
Well, you’re on your own, you always were
In a land of wolves and thieves
Don’t put your hope in ungodly man
Or be a slave to what somebody else believes.
And you won’t be disappointed when vain people let you down
And look not for answers where no answers can be found
Don’t trust me to show you love
When my love may be only lust
If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself.
Copyright © 1985 by Special Rider Music
|Synonyms:||anchor – essence – pillar – root – substance|
Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness. ~Sigmund Freud
LIFE OUTSIDE MY COMPUTER
(by Michelle Maynard-Koenig)
Life outside my computer
is different, you see,
providing an opportunity
to inhale fresh air and breathe.
To engage in conversation,
face to face, side by side,
with people coming and going
and even passerbys.
Pay a visit to Mother Nature,
admire the beauty she radiates;
brushstrokes of trees, animals, flowers,
moon, stars, sky, and sun rays.
Life passes too quickly
for me to not take part,
to witness all I can
before it’s my time to depart.
Life outside my computer
is different, you see,
it’s the cornerstone of living
amid a universal masterpiece.
As each layer is peeled back,
a new layer is exposed to invite.
Sometimes the pungency conjures up tears;
sometimes it emits a treasure of delight.
The sheaths masking
are peeled away by
A lifelong quest since youth,
journeying beyond what others deem,
into the heart of truth,
the core truth of me.