Friday, June 12, 2009

Seeking stillness

Many times, I'm rushing and don't even know it. But my shoulder and neck muscles do. They register the pace of my life. My muscles are in knots because I'm too busy. In too much of a mad rush.

But there's hope for me--and for you, if your days are crowded and frantic.

Yesterday in our early morning Pilates class, our instructor Colleen wore a shirt with a labyrinth imprinted on the back. A labyrinth is patterned on a medieval design from Chartres Cathederal in France. It's a kind of maze that one follows to the center.

In following the labyrinth, be it the kind printed on paper that one traces with one's finger, or a labyrinth made of stones that one walks, one is drawn into a deep state of concentration, and one begins to center, ultimately in the presence and stillness of Christ.

When I walked a labyrinth for the first time, this was my experience. (If you want to walk a labyrinth, you can do so, I'm told, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church here in Springfield.)

At the center of the labyrinth on Colleen's shirt were the words, "Seek Stillness."

Busyness always finds us, or we find it and surrender to it, for fear of what we might discover about our lives if we slowed down long enough to pay attention.

In contrast to busyness, stillness won't just happen. It won't suddenly find us. We have to seek it if we are to find it. What did Jesus say in the gospels? Seek and you shall find.

How can we seek stillness and find stillness in Christ? We can walk or trace with our fingers the path of a labyrinth.

Or an even simpler way is one described by a friend the other day. In the midst of his busyness as an investment officer, he occasionally stops working and closes his eyes.

As he breathes in, he prays, "God," and as he breathes out, he prays, "Thank you."

"I'm at peace," he says.

He's found stillness in Christ. May you also find it and Christ this day.

1 comment:

  1. I think perhaps my entire life is played in a exquisitely complicated one. And I know I have Helpers on those paths. Seeking the Stillness to which you refer, I sat again in the Nave at All Saints in Albany, yesterday Morning -- Corpus Christi Day. My exploring what "Grace" means can happen there, as well as on Walnut Street. Thanks so much.


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