Once a month, I have a lunch meeting with Carolyn Cochran, Spiritual Life Center’s Chair of the Board of Trustees. Before talking business this week, we had a brief conversation about a collective angst that seems to in the air. Perhaps it’s because many people are feeling intense sorrow for the people in Paradise, California who are going through the most destructive wildfire in the history of the state. As of today, 42 people have died, over 100 missing and the whole town of Paradise has been destroyed. Or maybe there is the emotional hangover from the mass shooting that happened last week in Thousand Oaks California where 12 people were killed in a country western bar. On top of that, the folks in that area are having their own wildfire experience. Even if we are not directly affected by these events, because we are all interconnected on a soul level, we are likely to feel them in some way.
We may be able to alleviate some of the pain by taking action like donating to organizations that support those affected by the fires. Or, we might take up civic action to advance policies that will help prevent future mass shootings.
Yet before we do anything in the outer world, it is important to start with our inner experience. I was reminded of this as I was reading a book about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitledDeath of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Final Year. Predictably, the book addressed the immense challenges that King faced as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement as well as surprising insights about internal personal struggles that he faced and how he managed them.
One tidbit stood out as particularly relevant and helpful in alleviating pretty much any type of angst we may feel in today’s world: it turns out one of Dr. King’s favorite ways to disengage from the daily challenges he faced and from the pressures of his grueling 18-hour days was to get a massage. What he enjoyed most was not necessarily the massage itself, but the silence. According to the author, the massage therapist never spoke a word while doing his work since he was aware that Dr. King relished the quiet. It was a coveted time in which he could simply “be” and not have to answer or respond to the troubles of the world. Dr. King appreciated silence so much that, when asked if there were one thing he would do differently in his life, he responded that he would spend more time in silence and meditation.
It is in this space we are able to come into the awareness of the ever-expanding good of Spirit. We discover the “dynamic still point” and connect with true power. The moment we pull our attention inward and still the calculating surface mind, something mystical happens; the power of peace, love, joy and well-being begins to take over. All that is good and perfect begins to reshape our body of affairs.
If we wake up in the morning raring to go without allowing stillness to become part of our day, we merely bring our experiences of life into the now moment, spice them up with a little imagination and move into the world the same person. As we start our day, it is imperative that we go to the dynamic still point to see the world as God sees it. We will gain a higher and more expansive point of view from which the angst that the surface mind dwells in will diminish.
It behooves us to take Dr. King’s advice and make silence an integral part of our daily routine. It could very well be the antidote to we seek in this tumultuous adventure called life.
Peace and Blessings,