Considering words that I could annex to the title of this post (and of my new painting), a quick Google search of “Stillness in the midst of…” came up with “…chaos” and “…turmoil” as the most typical add-ons, although “fragmented light” or even “explosion of colour” were more akin to what I had in mind. As ever for me, the painting began with a real experience, a setting sun behind trees next to a lake but, again as usual, the subject spoke to me of much more than just pretty lights reflecting on the water. There was simply no single word that could capture what that “something” was in the midst of which stillness is to be found and so I opted for the short title above.
You see, what I was trying to convey here was the stillness to be found in the midst of, well, everything. It doesn’t matter how much is going on, how much life seems to be throwing at us, how many fragments of individualised expression of humanity there are hurling themselves around making a lot of noise and disruption in our space, there is always stillness to be found in the midst of it all. We are that stillness, we carry it within us…it is that part of us that is eternal and remembers who it really is and so is beyond this world’s cares. It is the part of us that remembers that it came into this life experience for the fun of the ride and which knows without hesitation or doubt that it will go back into its fully-realised expression of stillness in all good time, once this physical form has been laid aside (until next time…) and so it is utterly without fear, without overwhelm or even without urgency because it gets the much bigger picture. It is that most essential, elemental essence of who we are, the I Am at the core of us, in the void of us, that place we visit in moments of blissful solitude, inspiration and meditation. When we loose sight of it, we swing and sway with the tides of external circumstance and loose our balance and our health, feel hopeless and afraid but when we learn how to go there – regardless of what else is going on around us – it becomes a doorway of easy transition into calm whenever we choose to step over the threshold.
I can think of no better person to consult on the subject of stillness than Eckhart Tolle, the person who first reminded me of its merits at a time when I was in the midst of all of the care-worn reactions to life described above (this quote is taken from “Stillness Speaks“):
“When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form. Stillness is your essential nature. What is stillness? The inner space or awareness in which the words on this page are being perceived and become thoughts. Without that awareness, there would be no perception, no thoughts, no world.You are that awareness, disguised as a person.”
I’ve talked many times before, and in fact in my recent post “Light divided“, about the fact that we are all fragments of source, shining our own individualised brand of ‘light’ as a means for source to ‘be’ an infinite variety of expressions of itself and so experience and know itself. I’ve yet to find a better account of why this would be necessary than that given by Neale Donald Walsh in ‘Conversations with God’ Book 1, an explanation which (on my first reading of it eighteen months ago), caused me to break down in tears of joy at the tidal wave of altered perception that came flooding in on having something so utterly fundamental to what life is all about – yes, the very meaning of life – so beautifully and simplistically conveyed to me. Here’s the key to a very major door, the opening of which altered everything for me: we don’t come from source, we ARE source, one of the infinite billions of expressions of source, out on a road trip, putting itself through a range of experiences that act like a series of flashcards being shown to an amnesiac in the hope that some of them will trigger a recollection of who we really are, where we really came from. Inevitably, when so many individualised fragments of source are in one place, shining their own particular kind of light, the sheer physicality of the life-experience can seem like an explosion of movement and colour, so much going on, so much variance, confusion, noise that it can feel like standing in the middle of a mardi gras. When you become world weary, it can feel ever more like being an agoraphobic caught in the middle of that same carnival procession yet, at the other end of the spectrum, a myriad of colour, of light bouncing and sparkling off each and every form can be a thing of breathtaking beauty – and so back to my lake full of colour and light and my love of painting moments when the colours fragment the most.
Yet at the heart of it, somewhere out on that lake, a moment of glass-like stillness was also playing out, a patch of water that took on the kind of stillness and serenity that responded quite differently to all the rest. In that one still place, the fragments of light came back together, the reflection of source upon the water became so intense that it could have been source – in fact it was source, realised here within the earth plane. So now getting back to what this painting, this post, are really all about: quite simply, when we hold the stillness within the seeming chaos of life, it allows source to reconvene within us in the here and now. No holding out for that moment when we shed our physicality and return to source – we already are that source, we are being it in every moment, in the very mist of all the most seemingly chaotic moments of life, in the sway and pull of which it is very easy to forget. Yet to remember this, to get back to being this in a conscious way, there is absolutely no necessity to leave our physical existence behind as we have been told for hundreds of years; all it takes is remembering who we are in the now, encouraging such remembrance by setting up place-markers and times, perhaps moments in nature (by the side of a lake?) that prompt us to hold and so recognise that space of stillness within us. When we do this, like the sun’s reflection when the water became so still, the very fragments of our own light swiftly regroup in our own still core, where they soon rediscover an awareness of their own completeness and integrity. In that place, there is nothing missing, there can be no experience of lack or imperfection and, in fact, a sense of quite the opposite overwhelmingly asserts itself. The light intensifies and shines ever-more brightly, the broad spectrum of colour that adds beauty (and there is much beauty to be found) wherever light is fragmented is drawn to a point where the convergence into oneness creates purest white light. Here in nature was a reminder that a realisation of our source-self, our highest self, is entirely possible within life, in the very midst of life and quite regardless of what is taking place all around us or even, perhaps, all the more discernible as the calm, steady light that is the perfecting detail in the midst of great flux.