“Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars
mirrored in your own being.”
I woke up at 5 this morning. There are no curtains on our bedroom windows. Our bed faces east, and there are French doors that bring the outside in. When I opened my eyes and looked out, there was the deep, soft blackness of night pierced with millions of stars sparkling. Venus and Jupiter were showing off. I felt very small. I felt awe.
I spent Saturday at a silent retreat. Silence is important to me. The silence created by not speaking. The silence created by being swaddled tightly in silence. In silence I let go of noise. The noise of ego, the noise of fear and worry, the noise of the unknown, the noise of want and desire. Then I hear. I hear the beating of my heart. The gentle whisper of my breath. Thoughts come in all forms like handfuls of confetti tossed from somewhere above. They float and swirl around and cloud the view, then settle and rest.
This morning I woke with my mind settled as in Rumi’s quote and saw the beauty and light of the stars and planets mirrored in my heart, in my quiet, rested being. On retreat I found the same while simply sitting in silence and hearing only life’s murmuring in my body and a quiet mind that was not crowded with volatile emotions and jumbled, confused thoughts.
In this gentleness, this softness is something I cherish.
At the end of the retreat there is a group discussion…one can come and join in through conversation or through listening. Yesterday I listened. Dialogue came around to the idea of the narratives of our lives…how they are “written”, how they “read”. Someone brought up the idea that entwined in our storytelling are mirages. Ideas, hopes, images we chase after. Imaginary apparitions. Phantasms. In the narratives of our life we often are looking for something, chasing something only to “get there” are find we haven’t really attained what we hoped we would, and poof, the mirage is gone.
I thought a bit about my narrative. Yes, there is a narrative that has gotten me here to this point. Some of it was written in early life by my parents…they made choices, they filled my days with words, ideas, experiences and I interacted with those things and then they responded and we continued on in this way. They have not been involved in my narrative for quite while now. And the story line has meandered this way and that way without their editing. And yes, I chased after mirages, watching as they became fainter and fainter and finally vanished right before I got “there”. Tomorrow, there may be a surprise addition to life, an unseen twist.
As the narrative of my life continues, some mirage or another will float seductively in front of me. Trying to lure me towards something that I believe will make me happier, or free from this or that. So, as I strive to live in the present moment, I try not gaze towards the mirage. I look up at the pre-dawn sky in awe and see those stars and planets in their momentary beauty and splendor and know as present truth that they are mirrored in my being. I have a light. I am a light. I radiate and reflect light. And I am but one in a million lights that all shine and sparkle in their own way and own time, in their own place. In the silence of light my narrative tells the story that I am not separate but joined together with millions of people who are good and kind, as well as those who are not good and unkind. People who are happy and joyful and people who are hurt and afraid. People who are climbing up and out, as well as people who are weighted down and feeling buried. People who have been found and people who are lost. People who are full of compassion and love. People who feel hatred and anger. People who are the fabric and mosaic of humanity. They call themselves by many labels. White, Black. Male, female, trans-gendered. Christian, Muslim, Jew. Agnostic, Atheist. Hindi, Jain. Untouchable, Brahmin. Doctor, patient. Lawyer, criminal. Adult, child. Teacher, student. Oppressor, oppressed. Rich, poor. Awakened, asleep. Lost, found. Loved, unloved. Hopeful, hopeless. Strong, weak. Blessed, cursed. Leader, follower. Romantic, realist. Educated, uneducated. Healer, injurer. Inventor, copier. Doer, idler.
What I understand in silence and cherish is that humanity is a collective reflection of who we are. Perfect or imperfect. Good or bad. We all open our eyes at birth. We all walk our own path, to the same end. We all will close our eyes and die. The narrative we write in the middle contains a part that is choice. We are the story tellers of our own lives. When the waters settle in my sometimes turbulent, fearful, worried mind, I catch a glimpse of the reflection of our common humanity sparkling like a million predawn stars.
This year two new stars have been born into our family. One tiny star was born just yesterday. The light we shine will be the light that creates her sparkle and will be the light she reflects out into the world. My hope is that it be light of love, tolerance, understanding, peace, respect, hope and humility.