The year 2020 will go down in history as the year of unprecedented stillness. In the midst of what we consider inconvenience and massive disruption is a gift. Many of us have never known in our lifetime a time when the world experienced stillness on one accord. Of course we don’t want to see or experience sickness, death or economic hardship, but the stillness that lies in the middle of chaos has brought many of us to a place of surrender. Surrendering to the idea that we really don’t have the control over our lives we so arrogantly thought we did. We’re being challenged to spend time with ourselves, our ideas, our families, what’s important to us and evaluate if our mind and heart are truly aligned.
In the midst of this chaotic stillness is profound longing to seek the meaning in all of this. Certainly this worldwide stillness can’t be for naught? What do you extract from a moment that has literally seized time, has brought everything to a standstill. How do you make sense of all of this stillness in the midst of Chaos? You don’t, you surrender.
I’m a Christian who meditates and I teach Christian meditation from a Hebraic perspective. In Christian thought, the beauty of surrender is taking this moment one day at a time with no expectation of the outcome understanding that the Lord is sovereign. He in his infinite wisdom and power is in complete control, therefore we can have peace in the midst of chaos and can surrender to the process in peace. There is a scripture that is often used in Christian contemplative meditation, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) The primary focus of this scripture is “be still”, which is a call for us to trust. The Hebrew word for “be still” is harpu, which means “to let go, to release”. So the words “be still” literally mean “to cause yourself to let go.” It lets us know that letting go isn’t a passive action, we are to let go in order to truly understand and surrender to the fact that God is in control and that is more than enough, we simply need to be still. One very clear thing that I recognize in this interesting place is that people of all faiths recognize this moment isn’t just a physical occurrence, it’s a deeply spiritual one as well. The world recognizes that only a higher power can allow people of every nation to be placed in a position of stillness at one time, regardless of economic status, religion, race, gender or age. We recognize there is a source and although we come from the Creator, we’re but the creation.
After the fussing, frustration, feeling your loss of freedom, you realize that you’ve been seized by the moment and there’s nothing you can do but surrender to the stillness. Surrender your plans, your agenda, your routine and in many cases surrender your ideals of how you thought things should be….surrender. Why is this important? Stillness resets, reshifts, refocuses and realigns our intentions to line up with the greater good of humanity. Our hearts cry becomes “Not my will but thy will be done.” Nothing touches that heart of man like not being in control and seeing the gaps in what was our so called best efforts.
So what are some things you can do to help you and those around you with the process and heart-felt intention to surrender in the midst of chaos? How do you seize a moment that has seized you? You let it RAIN. The term RAIN is a mindfulness practice first coined by Michele McDonald.
- Recognize and acknowledge that this is indeed a different, difficult and daunting place.
- Allow yourself to let the experience be there, to acknowledge it’s real and you feel some kind of way about it. Allowing helps us understand the value in the protective measures mandated by the federal and state government and follow them. We develop an understanding that even if we’re inconvenienced, we acknowledge it’s an inconvenience but we do it for the greater good. This lets us see the situation more deeply, drawing on our ability to be loving and compassionate toward ourselves and others.
- Investigate this moment with gentleness and faith. What is this moment saying to you? What life lessons are you learning? What are you saying to yourself about this moment, is it true? Are you taking care of yourself emotionally and physically in this moment, giving attention to what’s needed? Are you trying to strive your way out of this moment, becoming overly busy or have you relaxed into the moment with peace that passes understanding?
- Natural Loving Awareness allows you to see the situation but not connect your identity to it. We can acknowledge that we’re uncertain or fearful, but fear and uncertainty don’t have to become our identity. We’re aware that there’s a pandemic but that doesn’t have to become all encompassing. We can still pursue our dreams; learn a new language; take advantage of the myriad of free online courses being offered; still be open to new possibilities. We have the opportunity to examine our lives and make a decision that we will live from love. We may be physically quarantined but we don’t have to be emotionally or spiritually quarantined. This is the place that allows us to shift our perspective, this is where the healing begins.
I’ve been in awe at what is taking place in communities, in the hearts of men; the deep understanding that busyness, striving, lack of empathy, greed and self serving can only last so long. There’s a beauty in humanity, the care that rises to the surface when all you have is stillness. When your best strategy for collective healing is simply to be still, then Exodus 14:14 comes alive, “The Lord will fight for you, you only have to be still.”