In quietness and confidence
We're all dogged by fears and disappointed by desires, then caught up in the wreckage that trails behind. Yet there is a way out for us, a way already provided, hidden within our very own being. Touching this inner assurance, we can walk through the fire and not be burnt. Even though there is such a gulf between these two lives of ours, we can build a bridge between our usual world and a greater awareness that will save us.
Beloved, contemplative inquiry is a way to make this transformation, it may be the path for the you. (If not, we should search elsewhere, because there is a "yes" for us somewhere that will save us.) What we are doing in contemplative inquiry is reminding ourselves of a spiritual truth that we already do know. Because yes, there is within us a sanctuary that is our rock and high tower, and if we learn to work with a spiritual principle faithfully, patiently, persistently, then we will live out from it. So let's take as an example this line from Psalms: "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength, in returning and rest shall ye be saved."
We might start by asking, what does "quietness" mean? At one level it refers to settling down bodily, as we've seen in statues of Buddha, the outer picture of the state of meditation. Well, isn't quietness also calming down emotionally? Then we might ask, can't feelings of peacefulness be shattered in a flash? So we travel further yet. Is there a place of shelter from the storms? If there is a "Yes" resounding in answer for us, then this is a good path for us. Then as night yields subtly to the dawning, we eventually start to commune with the divine Consciousness seeping in during the process of contemplation. And it is this contact which is the actual meditation. The transcendent Reality may last for seconds or it may go on a long time. How does "quietness" describe this? Listening with Great Peace is totally quiet; can we hear the Presence listening to us? So the inquiry brings us to this centering in our infinite Self.
Again, we might dwell upon the word "confidence." At first, we take this to mean that we're confident of a good result. Then as we go deeper, we begin knowing an absolute surety that is a Peace Now; we are being held in those Everlasting Arms. This experience is the proof in itself, that takes us through our day. We're no longer looking for an outcome; this reassurance itself is the outcome. The funny thing is that, paradoxically, with such confidence we do see outer fruitage later, pressed down and running over.
"Strength" too has its onion layers. As we inquire, we might become immersed in another paradox: Would a strength that's Almighty face no other power, engage in no struggles? How could there be such a Strength? How can I stand upon such strength? How much is my own trust a factor? What is my relationship to my own Self?
So you can see how we take a Truth and view it from varied angles, questioning its scope and implications. We let this discourse or inquiry bubble up, not forcing our mind to think anymore, but trustfully following the lead of our core wisdom. The spiritual principle is a golden thread drawing us to God. As we journey we might ask ourselves: What comes with us? What gets dropped? How are we changed?
As you can see, we've just questioned a few of the words in the Psalm, as small examples, not even touching the meaning as a whole. Many paths can take you to your heart. When you find a Truth that resonates with you, that inspires you, then you can work with it for months or years, until it becomes flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone, until you witness yourself growing in awareness, and awakening to a world made new. Peace, love and joy.
Moshe Ross is the author of "Really Being With You," a book in Ashland libraries and bookstores, as well as a radio program archived at www.kskq.org