There are no mistakes, no missteps. Life’s events only become calamities if we allow them to become so. If you look at challenges as a normal part of life, they can actually be the driving force of change.
So often, when people are faced with adversity, they expect to be able to resolve their issues quickly. Terry explains how practicing patience is critical for the healing process to occur.
Throughout the history of mankind, conflict has existed. Fueled by hatred and animosity, millions of people have been slaughtered. Terry provides an interesting analogy comparing how the trillions of cells within the body work together for the benefit of the whole. We as members of the human race should do the same.
The mind is capable of many levels of activity that span the full gamut from utter chaos and hyperactivity to serenity and peace. The commotion of the mind is analogous to the surface of a raging river as it rapidly travels downstream. Deeper in that same flowing body of water, the turbulence is less chaotic, its movement much less than that found on the surface. The deepest part, the bottom of the river, has barely perceptible motion to it at all.
Life in its hectic phase can be like the river’s rough surface churned up by the wind. Those waves represent the flurry of thoughts, the recurrent worrying thoughts stirred up by the perceived windstorms of life. The incessant nature of these streams of thought, the constant chatter generally gets us nowhere, imprisoning us in an unending eddy of discontent. If we are not mindful of its trap, we can get caught in its current as it drags us into the abyss of the turmoil that created the thoughts in the first place.
Meditation allows one to transcend limitations of the human experience. It allows one to become more reflective, coaxing us toward self-realization, ultimately enabling us to commune with the consciousness of the Divine.
When one is able to turn off the incessant internal dialogue reverberating in the mind reaching a space of quietness and serenity, it is like looking into a calm pool where one can see with absolute clarity all the way to the bottom. It is through meditation that one can find this respite, this conduit through which you can gently reach the deep recesses of the mind, arriving at the bottom where calmness prevails, a place where things are peacefully quiet.
When the sound ceases, the lessons of silence will reveal themselves.
The peace offered by achieving inner silence is cleansing in the sense of emptying and clearing one’s mind of the chatter and chaos of everyday life. It allows purification of thought, a simplification of thought, clarity of thought that, in my experience is achievable in no other way.
In The Power of Now written by Eckhart Tolle, he states, “True inner silence puts you in touch with the deeper dimensions of being and knowing. Nothing in this world is so like God as silence.”
It has been said that when we pray to God we are talking to Him. But when we meditate, that is when we hear God speaking to us.
During the winter, I witnessed what appeared to be a miracle. At first light, I looked out onto the lake in back of our home and saw our swans walking on water! I thought to myself, wow, they must have experienced some sort of epiphany through the night as just yesterday they were paddling around the lake like normal birds.
When the gray skies brightened a bit, I realized the optical “delusion” of the miracle. Through the frigid night, nature had deposited a thin icy layer on part of the surface of our lake, a layer so smooth that it appeared to be fluid. The swans were actually walking on thin ice. How natural they looked as they waddled across the silvery surface. As I pondered their feat, I acknowledged that I too have been walking on thin ice these past several months. I don’t believe that I have pulled off the balancing act as well as the swans appeared to be doing on this crisp autumn morning.
As more daylight appeared, I could distinguish the lines of separation between ice and water. The lines of demarcation were S-shaped, six of them to be exact. Some were large, others smaller. I meditated on the S’s. What was the lesson this consonant was trying to teach me?
The reason there were six S’s was obvious. There are six members in our immediate family. I made the “S” sound over and over again. Their meaning slowly came to me.
The accumulating weight of responsibilities in life, whether work-related, financial or relational can be a formidable and overwhelming challenge. We may be forever walking on thin ice in a futile attempt to manage. If the burden becomes too heavy, the thin surface fractures and we lose our footing. For some, the burden falls from their backs allowing them to be rescued from the frigid waters. For others, bound tightly to their baggage, the weight drags them under as they sink deeper into the cold darkness below the icy surface.
Meditating on the S’s, what came to mind was K I S S. It was not the band or the touching of lips. It was just the letters K - I - S - S.
Then it hit me. Years ago my good friend, Don Karas, a colleague at The Heart Group, made an insightful observation. Every year he, Tyler, and I would put together a band for “Docs Who Rock”, a United Way fundraiser. Each year the presentation became more grandiose and extravagant. We performed some crazy antics! When things got too wild, Don would implore me to “K-I -S-S”. No, he wasn’t coming onto me; he was merely suggesting for me to Keep It Simple, Stupid. And he was right. The more complicated our presentation, the less successful it became.
Hence the lesson of the S’s etched in the thin ice. Keep life simple. Despite the fact that challenges may appear to be very complicated, in truth they are not. By keeping it simple, living one day at a time, tackling one problem at a time, distilling things down to the basics, we can meet those seemingly overwhelming challenges with greater success.
As Winston Churchill once shared: “Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.”
As Jeremy Taylor so eloquently described it: “Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit; our wandering thoughts in prayer are but the neglects of meditation.”
It has been said that as we pray, we are speaking to God. But when we meditate, that is when God speaks to us. Communing with the Source of everything cannot be achieved while immersed in the noise and restlessness of chaotic thoughts. The mind is capable of many levels of activity that span the full gamut, from utter bedlam and hyperactivity to serenity and peace.
Life in its hectic phase is like the river’s rough surface churned up by the wind. Those waves represent the flurry of thoughts, the recurrent worrying thoughts stirred up by the perceived windstorms of life. The incessant nature of these streams of thought, the constant chatter in our minds generally gets us nowhere, imprisoning us in an unending eddy of discontent. If we are not mindful of its trap, we can get caught in its current as it drags us into the abyss of the turmoil that created the thoughts in the first place.
The commotion of the mind is analogous to the turbulent surface of the river. The deeper portion of that same flowing body of water is less chaotic, with movement much less than that found on the surface. The deepest part, the bottom of the river, has a barely perceptible motion to it at all. If you have ever gone scuba diving or been at the bottom of the deep end of a swimming pool, you have likely experienced that calm.
After a fierce storm, once the turbulence has abated, if allowed to do so, the river’s murky water will settle. As the mud gravitates back down, the water’s innate clarity returns. When one is able to quiet the mind by whatever means, it is like looking into those calm waters where one can see with absolute clarity all the way to the bottom.
I have found that meditation takes me to that respite. It provides the channel that allows me to dive deeply into the mind where calmness, peace and serenity prevail. Meditation leads me to space where I can cultivate consciousness in its most pure form.
Life’s accrued experiences add multiple shrouds to our essence. Often these coverings blanket us with baggage that is burdensome, a heavy load that we may find impossible to continue carrying. In order to unload this excess cargo, these layers must be shed, much like peeling off the outer most portion of an onion. As we do so, our essence in its most distilled form is revealed. It has been likened to donning a Halloween mask every day for an entire lifetime. It is not until all of those facades have been removed, peeled away from the pure face that one’s true persona emerges.