Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. Herman Hesse
Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form. Eckhart Tolle
Every day in my inbox, I receive a blog post from Daily Good; it’s a wonderful thing. One day years ago I was feeling a little down and I thought, I can read more poisonous news, or I can choose something different. After a brief search Daily Good presented itself to me. Now, I read an uplifting story every morning and my day is brightened.
Yesterday I read a post about a newly married American couple of Indian descent who took a 3-month sabbatical from there substantial careers in order to seek out meaning in their native land. For those 3 months the couple walked 600 miles, lived on a dollar a day, and experienced the best and the worst of human nature.
They spoke most lovingly of the poorest among the people they met along the way. One family “borrowed” food from another family in order to have enough to feed the couple. Others showed grace in innumerable small and large ways. The most difficult people they met were those who had a vested interest in protecting something, such as the hostel keeper who would not feed and house them because they were not of his faith.
One story they told is of the smiling, impassive face of a woman waiting for a bus that was delayed for 3 hours. Not a hint of impatience or exasperation crossed her face. I was moved by this and thought about it for a few minutes, right before I drove to the Y for my daily swim.
At the parking lot a huge SUV blocked the entrance, waiting for a car to vacate a space. He parked but another big SUV had stopped just ahead to talk with a man over a couple of rows. He moved and I drove around to that row where he was talking with another man stopped in the lane. I inched into a space near them, spitting nails in my impatience and exasperation.
The talkative man went behind my car and said something, to whom I didn’t know. Soon however, I found out. A young woman who was also blocked was shouting and cursing at the top of her lungs, urging the man to do anatomically impossible things to her and to himself. In the midst of the noise and growing conflict going on all around me, I recalled the reading.
I thought of the woman who, while waiting for hours, was undisturbed. Here I was inconvenienced for less than 3 minutes, in a snarling fit of pique! I sat in the car and got still as the mayhem behind me melted away. My mind quietened and I realized the temporary insanity I had just suffered through.
“This is where war comes from,” flowed through my brain and heart. If I don’t want war in my outer world, I’d best learn to prevent it internally. While there may be a short-lived high from the raging adrenaline and hormones of such confrontations, I don’t want it and don’t need it in my life. From the noise of life I’d chosen stillness and in the ensuing silence, I could hear my higher, better self speaking an ancient truth, Be Still.