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Stillness = Faith

They say the bits of the universe blown outward by the big bang will eventually become still. In this total stillness, a total evenness of un-differentiated silence, it seems impossible for a new universe to be born. And yet, this may be the place from which our's began.

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said "Those who do not know how to be silent do not know how to speak". So it is from silence, from the space between words, where meaning comes. It is the silence at the end of an experience from which wisdom may grow also, I would say,

I've just turned 56, and as for many of you, these last 365 days have not all been awesome. There has been much silence - or rather the opportunity for it but often a busy agitation in the place of true stillness. I've lost a dog, a relationship and potentially an occupation - we'll see about that one. But when I say lost, I really mean these things, these solid, predictable-seeming artifacts in my life that have dissolved were always eventually meant to. It is the way of things. They are not lost, they've moved to the space of potential.

I doubt the universe that arises from the ashes of the old one knows what it will become. In the same way, forcing a certain direction in our lives after dissolution is probably incompatible with the Tao - the "way" of effortless effort. I love Alan Watt's description of this dynamic stillness; he tells the story of the Samurai in training that is constantly surprise - attacked by his master from every imaginable angle so as to illustrate the futility of a constant vigilance. Instead, the young Samurai is told to sit quietly, for if the attack (or opportunity!) may come from any direction, then attending to only one compass point would weaken his mindfulness in the other directions.

So it is really this knowledge of the futility of an anxious attending-to that provides a seat of true attentiveness. If we place what we think we desire next into this space of all possibilities, not only are we subtracting from this ultimately creative space, it may be that our projections of what we want are based on prior beliefs about what's best for us - and these very well may be wrong.

Stillness=Faith. Faith in the creative power of what seems to be nothing but space, time and the vastness of the night sky.

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