A few months ago I was taking a spiritual writing class; six weeks of delving into my life story, my spiritual beliefs and attitudes. This was an enlightening experience for me, and I would like to share one of my assignments with you. I hope that you enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Be Still and Know That I AM God
These words are written on a clock on my living room wall. I’ve never paid this little clock any real attention before, and I find myself gazing at it, allowing my mind to fall back into itself, into the soft velvety richness of my heart. The clock battery has died, I notice, and the hands no longer move. It’s like time has stood still. I smile at the irony of the message, and wonder what the clockmaker believed. Was he inviting us to take the time to be still, to stop and allow ourselves to allow the mystery of God to declare its presence? Was he reaching out to us in the hope that the clock would stop at the perfect moment, encouraging us to be still enough to know that we are GOD?
I honestly don’t know.
I honestly don’t know what God is. I have found this assignment to be a huge pain in my a** and, for that, I am grateful. It has allowed me to really look at myself, highlighting the strategies I have adopted to deal with life. I have been an avoider. I have been a seeker, always searching for the perfect healing to remove my deep sense of loss and unworthiness. I have been chasing the light, and avoiding the shadow, always looking for some kind of salvation in a future utopian idea of love, light and divinity. I have been hijacked by my beliefs, deeply entrenched in the war-game of duality, never allowing myself to feel the deep pain of loss. I have hidden behind the idea of spirituality, of enlightenment, projecting myself into a future scenario where God will be my salvation. I’m exhausted by all of this. I want to be free.
I have had many beautiful spiritual experiences in my life, ranging from a ‘peace that passeth understanding’ to unimaginable joy. They have all reminded me that there is a deeply profound mystery that enfolds us all. These wonderful sign-posts have been an invitation to realise a greater truth, and for moments, even days and weeks, I have opened up, and God has claimed me. But like all experiences, they come and go, leaving me with a hunger, a desire for more. Then my mind comes in, strategising, creating beliefs that I can hide behind, creating a belief that tells me that everything will be wonderful. And deep in my heart, I know that it will be wonderful, because we have never left this state of wonder. My heart knows this. My mind tries to believe it. And this is where my tiredness comes in. Many strategies later, I know it is time to stop. I know that the clock on the wall is reminding me of a greater truth. I know that the voice in my heart telling me to stop is real. I know that I am tired of chasing the light.
I have faith in being still. Ever since my experience with Gangaji, I have come to know that when the mind is quiesced, the heart is allowed the freedom to open, unencumbered by ideas of right or wrong. When the mind is quiet, there is nowhere to hide. In this naked vulnerability, there is freedom. No running towards the light, nor escaping the shadow. It is real, and it is peaceful beyond measure. This is where I now place my faith, because it is my doorway to the deep mystery we call God.
My desire from now on is to be honest with myself. Sometimes I will fall short of this, and this is okay. I no longer want to hide behind beliefs, second-hand stories of how I should or shouldn't live my life, or behind ideas of spirituality or God. I want to embrace the richness of my existence, the light and the shadow, the self-love and the self-hatred, every wave of emotion and thought that passes through me. Maybe each of these waves will be a portal to the mysterious joy of being, an open door with a sign that says ‘Welcome Home”. I have been the avoider for far too long, playing the game of the wounded child and the spiritual seeker. It is time to embrace everything, every fluctuating wave of delight and despair. I know that I am enough to contain it all. Chasing the light, in search of perfection, all the while carrying a lifetime of shadow behind me. It is time to stop.
I was going to stop at this point, but a beautiful quote from Rumi has come to mind.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
There is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about”