Sunday, October 23, 2011

Be still and know

I've been listening a lot lately to the chants of Ana Hernandez, curator of ECVA's upcoming exhibit, Imaging the Sacred Art of Chant.

The song that seems to keep resonating in my heart is one that riffs on the theme, "Be the Peace that you wish to see in the world."  So when I opened my eyes this morning after meditation, and this was the sight that greeted me, I had to go for my camera -- which made me think of a discussion I had yesterday with a couple of artist friends.

We were talking about the importance of home to each of us.  Where do we work?  Where do we feel most at home?  How often do we leave home, and how is that related to our art?

Mulling our words over later, I realize I've been sticking close to home for a long time now.  Of course, the ten speed bumps I have to cross every time I leave or return are a factor in that decision!  But I think I've been unduly hard on myself for not wanting to go out more.  There is a peace here that feeds my soul, and it's part both of what keeps me here and what allows me to do what I do and be who I am.

... but I think it's also that peace that helps me to be more aware of the compulsion that lies behind it to be and do MORE than I am being and doing.  There's always this drive; always this question, "What should I be doing now," or "what have I done today," or "How can I make this better?"

Not this is new, for me, or for anyone else who is drawn to the contemplative practice; it's the age-old tension between Action and Contemplation, and the reason Richard Rohr's organization is called the Center for Action and Contemplation.

But as you're taking a moment today to process your week and prepare for the week ahead, I invite you to think about how that tension manifests itself in your life.  And, while you're doing that, take another moment, and breathe out all those shoulds that are driving you.  See if you can get back into that space where there is no "more," where you can accept that who you are, and what you're doing now, is enough.

As one of Cynthia Bourgeault's chants tells us:

Be Still and Know that I Am.

Be Still and Know.

Be Still.



Megan said...

You know I have had this same conversation with others, even when I buy tickets to something or commit to an event, I find myself not wanting to leave the house when that day rolls around. A friend of mine on visiting in my new house for the first time, said she understands why now...she said the energy I have created is like an oasis, there is a sense of peace. So not wanting to leave that energy, that being...makes perfect sense to her. Perhaps I just needed someone to articulate that sense to me. Like you, I had been beating myself up for not wanting to venture out of the house. And I absolutely love the chant you posted.

Its funny, I just had to get new checks and the quote I used this time was, "Peacefulness is an inner sense of calm, it comes from becoming still."

Louise Gallagher said...

Thank you for introducing me to Ana Hernandez's chants. I downloaded HARC and have been listening with a quiet heart and restful mind.

Diane Walker said...

Don't you just love her music?

... and I love knowing we are listening together...