“Standing on the bare ground – my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
A few days later I was chatting with someone who had attended “Living the Questions” discussion. I asked him how he was doing as I knew he was going through some changes in his personal life. He began to talk and it was clear that something was stirring within him and that he was opening up to something new. We both talked about those moments in our lives when things had changed, when life had humbled us and how in those moments something broke both inside and outside and how this had brought about a new beginning, spiritually speaking. I would personally call these profound spiritual experiences, although I know others would give them a different name. In these moments the humility that opened me took me to another level, you could say it began to enoble me. I live in hope that this will continue.
A few days later I was chatting with my Tuesday morning friends. There was a theme running through the conversation. Several of us described recently experiencing a powerful sense of fear present in our lives. While at the same time experiencing a greater sense of faith also present within us too. A faith that manifests as a deep sense of knowing that by remaining open and connected that we will walk through whatever fear our minds create.
As we shared together the following words from Luke’s Gospel chapter 12 vv 22-27 came to mind.
As the conversation continued the following words from the 46th Psalm also came into my mind “Be still and know that I am God”. If I have learnt anything in life I have learnt that somewhere in this stillness in this emptiness a fullness and a strength can begin to grow.
The problem I suspect for many of us is that we are afraid to stop, to centre and to empty out minds. but stop we must if we wish to begin to be filled, it is crucial that we do so. The great spiritual traditions of the east have understood how vital emptiness is in order to experience the fullness and harmony of life. They have claimed that what is required is silence and stillness in order to truly connect to all that is, to truly know you are a part of God. When we are still we no longer locate ourselves in the past or the future or attempt to become something or someone else. In this stillness we can become like the Lillies of the field or the birds of the air. In this stillness a profound silence of the mind is revealed. It is this silence that embraces and connects the present to all times and places. This stillness is what holds and embraces all the movement of life. In it we become, as Emerson said, “a part or particle of God”
I believe that this is almost perfectly illustrated in the poem “I am much alone in this world, yet not alone” by Rainer Maria Rilke, there is something powerful in these beautiful words especially in the context of the nothing and everything paradox and perhaps the frustrations it brings.
I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.
I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.
For me in the silence in the emptiness I find the love that connects me to all that is in a truly wonderfulfilling sense. In the emptiness my cup once again begins to runneth over. In so doing I can once again know the fullness of life and live in such a way that is indeed enobling.
By deepening in silence we discover that the apparent emptiness holds no real fear, instead it leads us to true beauty and joy; it leads us to the joy of living. In that space we can discover that we are “a part or particle of God”. In doing so we rest in the infinite space that is life and begin to live in both accord and harmony. This silence brings peace, wholeness and well-being. It humbles us for it allows us to see that we are made of the earth and yet also enobles us for we can see that we are made of the stars.