Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sitting Still


For the last 20-something years, I've been in the habit of sitting still with my eyes closed for 20 or 30 minutes each morning. Sometimes longer, sometimes not so long. It seems to be getting longer as I get older.

I clear my mind and count breaths, or repeat a word or phrase, or think about a serene setting, or just stay in the squirrel brain I woke up with.

Sometimes I can actually quiet my mind -- for a few moments anyway. Sometimes I tell myself to rest in the Divine. Just sit and be still and rest in the Divine. Sometimes I'm an ocean of gratitude. Sometimes I get distracted by some long fantasy that's like reading a book I can't put down.

Sometimes I’m needy. Sometimes I'm angry (which usually means my feelings are hurt). Sometimes a grief or fear or pain is too much, and I end up bent over and dripping tears on my feet. Sometimes I ask questions because they come to me unanswered.

Sometimes an inner door swings open, and light floods in, and I see what I hadn't seen before, and I'm stunned into silence. Then I laugh out loud. Or weep. Or both.

All from just sitting still.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I started meditating several years ago and this idea of stilling the mind is something I have become aware of in my daily practice Through viewing my mind as an "observer" of thoughts, body sensations, feelings and emotions I have found great liberation from the mind chatter which has cursed modern man. I have learned that we are so much more then the thinking mind and the physical body. We can enter into what Jesus called "The kingdom of Heaven" in today's language he may have said the "realm of heaven". The word kingdom has lost its meaning in our time. He said that this state could be found within us. For several days, I have been asking ,what did Jesus mean by The kingdom of heaven within us??. I believe he was referring to what the Buddha called a different name .. Nirvana. The church believes the Kingdom of heaven is in some remote place but not according to their own teacher . What do you think of his statements regarding the Kingdom of Heaven? - Brian from Canada

HK Stewart said...

Brian from Canada:

Ah, the "kingdom of heaven." Funny you should bring that up. You've touched on what I believe was the real "gospel" Jesus wanted to pass along to his listeners.

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." This is what the gospel of Mark says Jesus started teaching at the beginning of his ministry after he came out of the wilderness.

Apparently, the phrase "the kingdom of God has come near" can also be translated "the kingdom of God is within you" or "is among you." And the Greek word (metanoia) that is translated into English as "repent" also means to "turn or change your mind" or "change the way you think" or "change the way you see."

I think Jesus was telling his listeners to "Turn your mind so that you see the world around you in a new way. Realize that you're living not only in the Empire of Rome. You're living in the Empire of the Divine. All you have to do is open your eyes and your mind, and you'll begin to see."

That, to me, is the gospel according to Jesus. It's also the reason I'm still willing to call myself a Christian.

I'm so glad you left your comment. The kingdom of heaven is something I'm sure I'll be writing more about, so stay tuned.

Thanks again.

H. K.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your writing your views on the Kingdom of heaven. I just finished reading a book by Stephen Mitchell call "The gospel according to Jesus" . It is a good commentary on what he views as the authentic words of Jesus. S. Mitchell has an excellent version of the Tao Te Ching out as well which I read. I find your blog interesting because I am a former practicing christian who has been absorbing eastern philosophy for sever years . I love the Taoist view on life but I am also getting a renewed interest in the authentic teachings of Jesus. I will continue to check out your blog . Thanks ........Brian from Canada

HK Stewart said...

Brian:

I happened on a copy of Stephen Mitchell's version of the "Tao Te Ching" in a bookstore about 15 or so years ago. I'd never encountered the "Tao Te Ching" before, but as soon as I started looking through it, I realized I had to buy it. Long story short, it changed my life. And it appears it's had a similar effect on you. I should add that I now have at least three copies of Mitchell's version and at least two other translations of the "Tao."

As for Mitchell's "The Gospel According to Jesus," I've not read it, but it sounds interesting. Have you encountered Marcus Borg's book called, "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time"? If not, you might want to hunt down a copy. It'll give you a different take on Jesus than what most churches offer up on Sundays.

Once again, thanks for reading and writing.

H. K.

Painting Demos by Brian Rice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Painting Demos by Brian Rice said...

HK,

I have not read Borg's book "meeting Jesus again for the first time" but I have read two of his books one on Jesus and the other on God. They were heavy reading but worth the effort. Speaking of the book that changed my life ( you mentioned TTC by Mitchell)"The power of Now" had that effect on me by E Tolle. For some reason his teaching has a profound effect on me. He gleams from Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism , Christian mystics and the Jesus teachings and seems to have blended their truths very well. Wayne Dyer seemed to do the same. I like Dyer's copy of Change your thoughts change your life , it is his commentary on the entire Tao Te Ching . That book had a great initial opening for me to the wisdom of the Tao.

So glad I found your blog . Its nice to be able to talk with others on this subject . Most of my friends and family have no interest in spirituality at all. Many of my family are Christian but most of my friends and co-workers are agnostic or atheist on these matters.

HK Stewart said...

Brian:

I'm glad you found my blog, too. It's good to have you along for the ride.

You mentioned Eckhart Tolle and "The Power of Now." I read it in 2002 and again in 2009. You're right, he draws from several interesting spiritual currents. I also liked his story about his "conversion," for lack of a better word.

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them.

H. K.

Painting Demos by Brian Rice said...

I have read all of Tolle's books. The power of now is one I keep going back to. If I am going to take just one or two books with me on vacation it is the "Power of now" or the "New earth" or "Stillness Speaks". The reason I say that is for some reason when I lose the center , forget to live in the moment for too long , any of his books can bring me back to this stillness or Presence which he speaks of. I mentioned in another post about John Butler this morning . Here is the link to his interview on "Discovering Stillness" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZXhPmHPoNo. This is powerful. He is 80 years old and he has been on the search for truth for most of his life.

HK Stewart said...

Brian:

It's amazing what a good book can do for us, isn't it.

I'll check out the video. Butler sounds like an interesting guy. Thanks for passing along the youtube link.

H. K.