Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Truth of Stillness

The Truth of Stillness

This morning I woke up with an overcast of depression. Really, I suppose, it sat in last night, but I wasn’t willing to admit it. I just thought I was really tired. It seems to me that waves of depression just hit me out of nowhere, although I am sure this is not the case. One minute things are great and the next I feel uninspired, unmotivated,unsatisfied and ungrateful. Really, I think a depressive overcast is a temporary malfunction of perception–an inability to recenter oneself.

So what do you do when the overcast strikes? Somehow wallowing on the couch or in bed doesn’t make it any better, although my mind guesses it just might. Reading a book, cleaning the house or working on a project doesn’t hold any more appeal. I’m stuck. Everything seems askew. Nothing seems right. My mind grasps at straws probably because it is the very thing that is causing the problem. I suppose the dilemma of depression is that you can’t solve it with the very thing that caused it. Maybe that’s why depression feels so directionless. My mind frantically searches for a solution continuing to perpetuate the disruption of its own domain.

Stillness. Quiteness of heart. The heart can quite the mind, but the mind cannot quite the heart. I need to find a different doorway thru which to escape the gloom and this doorway of the heart holds promise. Even if it doesn’t work, anything has got to be better than being locked in the gerbil-wheel of my mind. Caution: we can manage the image of stillness, yet still not be still. A mockery of stillness can very cleverly mimic genuine stillness and from the outside, they both look the same. On the inside, though, one offers no relief, while the other soothes the mania like balm on a wound. Stillness has nothing to do with what is external to me and everything to do with my inside neighborhood. Stillness is the place we go to reclaim our power–that personal power that ables us get recentered to life once again. Stillness is not quiteness, although quiteness can be found in stillness. Stillness is not rest and it’s pursuit is certainly not an excuse for laziness under the guise of rest. Stillness is not a project. Stillness just is. Stillness is all around us, always. We just have to tune the beacon of our heart in its direction. We must be willing to accept the grace of its healing gift.

“Be still and know that I am God”, we are told. Yet in seeking stillness with deliberate purpose, we feed the very problem itself. Reaching stillness, as I discovered this morning, is as simple as acceptance. Accept the stillness. Choose the stillness–over any other thing. The only conscious act is the act of choosing. Choose stillness and the healing begins. It begins from the inside out. Stillness can be had anywhere, anytime with a simple election. The election of choice. At a time when it feels like we have no choices and we are bound in a our own prison, election of choice doesn’t seem within grasp. Yet we already know that depression is the manufacturer of illusion. We already know that our feelings are not always facts. Now we know that the feeling of no choices does not constitute the truth of no choices.

The Poison of Worry

The Poison of Worry

Do you ever wonder why we worry? I do. I mean it’s not like the act of worrying helps ward off trouble or anything. So why then do we do it? I was reading this morning in a daily devotional by Melody Beattie, “A Journey to the Heart“, and she suggests that worry is a form of self-punishment and not trusting. So I wonder to myself what is the purpose of worrying? Apparently nothing productive. Worrying is the just the act of manifesting our fears. “We get so caught up in our fears that we don’t take the responsible steps we need to take. By neglecting our lives due to worry and fear, we may bring needless consequences upon ourselves”, says Beattie. I was once told that what we focus on is what grows, so if worrying is the act of focusing on our fears maybe its power to make us feel better is just a self-concocted illusion that is really self-defeating. So why then is worrying so often our first line of defense? Why wouldn’t praying be a first line of defense instead? Is worrying just an aversion tactic to avoid praying? Do we have so little humility, that we would rather worry than get down on our knees? Is it only by drinking the poison of worry that we can be grateful for the grace of prayer?