1. motionless; stationary
2. undisturbed or tranquil; silent and calm
3. gentle or quiet; subdued
Many years ago my mother and I were on a quest to find the true peace that was within us. We had embarked on a journey of mediation, yoga and other eastern philosophy to expand on our wellness experience and understanding. We found ourselves in a place called Kripalu in Massachusetts. This place was described as a beautiful place located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. We had heard so much about the great teachers there who could help us with our quest to become healthier and more connected with our source. We were fascinated with the experience that was described as a fully quiet experience that would teach us the details around healthy living, centering our entire being through yoga, aryuvedic medicines and teachings, authors who were Gurus in there own right and those who followed ancient eastern wellness practices. We drove up to the Center and found that the grounds and facility were perfectly suited for our weekend retreat and renewal experience. What we weren't prepared for was the absolute seriousness and inward focus that was required of us and soon to take place during our stay. We were greeted gently and escorted to a simple room that was our accommodations. No television, no phones, no sounds in your sleeping and eating quarters. We were not prepared! The silence was defining to two New Yorkers who were accustomed to loud and obnoxious noise that was spit out daily and constantly when you live a New York life. We were committed to the experience and found ourselves yielding a very personal cleansing that felt awkwardly and inwardly mentally and physically intrusive. The experience that we had there put us in a true state of catharsis. We felt lighter,(mentally and physically), our minds were sharp and clear, the planet and all of its glory became alive. There was no room for distractions. I must say though, our initial reaction was puzzlement, disorientation. It was so bizarre to enter a dining hall with many people who never uttered a word yet showed outward expressions of love and acceptance. Sleeping at night was initially arduous at best. No TV! My God, how was I to go to sleep? After the first night and day of total inward reflection and mental healing (the racing mind with mindless, inconsequential events running through it was finally still!). The words that best describes our overall experience was a feeling of PEACE and HEALING. The peace and healing was an experience for our minds and bodies. We left Kripalu so very different then when we had arrived. The daily aggravations and troubles that would have plagued us when we arrived had no hold on any part of us as we left. We left renewed and regenerated as they had promised. We were geared up with new ways of feeding and nourishing our bodies, books and tapes to feed and nourish our minds-by the way I still remember those books and recipes today some 20 years later. The most memorable author and book that impacted me most and still does is Thich Naht Hahn's books Touching Peace and The Art of Mindful Living. The experience was so impactful that when we arrived in New York we felt a real agitation and disturbance to our souls. Even the low level noises we experienced as glaringly loud and harmful to our inner peace. In spite of our surroundings we felt prepared as we were armed with tools that we learned at Kripalu-but somehow, over time I let those interferences get back into my spirit.
Today in 2011, I find myself searching again for that same peace. I decided to sit still in a yoga position in a quiet place that would now be called my meditation and prayer space. I placed a candle directly in front of me and attempted to be still. I remembered a practice taught at Kripalu that was intended to bring you to your center-your peace, and if done correctly would heighten your awareness of the points in your life-manifested in your body and mind-that were in need of healing. So there I was, staring at the flames concentrating on every part of my body. Starting from the toes, the balls of my feet, both ankles, shins-every area on my legs, feeling them from the outside inward. I allowed myself to acknowledge tension, hurt or pain if and where it existed. If everything was well with that area I could move further up my body. I couldn't help but stop in areas that felt pain. They were so obviously not aligned with being well. I couldn't get that ill feeling out of my mind so I focused on the light. Looking at the light as a source of power to fuel my ability to seek Gods majestic healing powers. I closed my eyes, opened them from time to time trying to maintain the power of the light while contemplating the area that was out of alignment. It was difficult! My concentration was broken because I couldn't get past the clear and decided area that was aching. I knew there was sickness there. My focus became more intent on seeking the sources strength from on high. It was clear that I was taping into my inner strength -rejuvenating the places that seemed broken. As I sat there with an intensity that surpassed my own understanding I wept because I could see clearly how disconnected I had become with the source in my own quiet space. I couldn't help but think that I relied on church, an outside source, to bring me a personal word. The word and power received there was communal, shared and belonged to the body of Christ. I must also seek the very personal word and purpose for my own life- I had to seek him in my own stillness. I must continue now to find the time, since I already have created the personal space to stop and offer myself and HIM the stillness. In the stillness there is revelation, healing and peace.
Once again I had found the serenity, the tranquility, and the calm that brings about peace of mind, patience, composure, understanding and compassion. All together there is Love there. Love for others, the world and self love. I am grateful for the stillness.
Have you created your place where stillness bears fruits? Create that place and go there. Allow yourself to go through the thoughts, feelings and physical manifestations of hurt. Bring a single candle light to the space and focus on your body and the God that is in you. He will guide you through the works that you must endeavor to heal and renew you. You are healed on every level. Keep focusing inward in the stillness and you will find your healing, peace and love all there.
Light Tomorrow with Today!