There is often power in the times when nothing seems to be happening at all. -Marianne Williamson
When I read this one line last week in Everyday Grace, something began to stir. There is something really potent for me right now with embracing stillness and practicing patience. While I find that I am able to apply this powerful statement that I believe to be a truth to my formal meditation practice, I also find that applying it to my everyday living and my personal evolution has a different flavor.
I have noticed that a common theme I visit in my musings is on change, on transition. The nothing in this current essay might equate to an older post of mine when contemplating the cocoon stage of a butterfly. In that essay I contemplate the amazing power at work in what on the surface may look like the closest thing to death and ultimate stillness. I consider the stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis to be the ultimate expression of creation’s divine force: she cycles through her natural course, from dissolution to taking flight, without a moment of hesitation.
Sitting and contemplating this, I began to think about Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield in The Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 17, The Power of Faith, addresses this surrendering into the “nothingness”– the great unrevealed. In the chapter, Krishna speaks of shraddha. Shraddha is what supports our practices of allowing energy to move in its all powerful ways without our working so hard from the external realms to try to manipulate all outcomes so that we might feel more comfortable or more in control. It is through the practice of stillness, and of resting within our uninhibited dynamic state of wisdom, that we can experience our most natural state of aliveness.
The transformative process will always have a pause. Do we allow ourselves to appreciate the pause? For myself–by nature a “doer”– I know that what feels to be slower than molasses can evoke fear in the form of anxiety or a state of panic. I personally have a tendency to fill the space of a sacred pause with busy-ness or by attending to my neurosis. But then that spark of shraddha, the faith of the heart that Krishna talks about to his disciple, supports me in the the process of surrender and awakening faith. For it is only in the pause that there is space enough to hear the heart. I believe it is from this place of spaciousness that we may cultivate the goodness for ourselves and those that we serve. This heart belief is what actually creates the brilliance of our unique life. It is the potency of our shraddha that will influence our neural pathways, our daily commitments, and essentially the profound depth of our journey on a spiritual path.
Creating practices in our lives that are in support of remembering the potency of stillness are essential in the cultivation of inner peace. I would like to believe that after enough years of life I am more of a traveler on the journey of remembering rather than forgetting; however, this practice of patience, and curiosity and openness to what will be, is definitely a practice I must commit to every day! Looking in the opposite direction, it is also wise to reflect upon a life filled with prior transformations, and of the unknown revealing itself in all sorts of creative and more ordinary ways.