The Deep Quiet
Minnesota, of late, has been visited by arctic conditions - temperatures double-digit below zero, vast violet-blue skies, piercing winds piling downy snow in high drifts. There’s a stark silence about – not much movement as folks hunker down.
This winter stillness reminds me of the deep quiet within, an inner stillness that is home to us - our birthplace, a place of refuge, renewal and re-creation. In our spiritual-growth group a couple nights ago, I felt prompted to guide the meditation toward the deep quiet to see what we might discover.
Spiritual authors speak about the hum of existence or the hum of the universe - a barely perceptible vibration we all share at the quiet center of being where we all meet. I think of it as the Ohm of God – the sound/song of God within.
To help us travel to this quiet, we used a large seven-metal Tibetan bowl I brought back from Nepal last year. Once struck, the bowl sings a complex harmony of tones for nearly 3 minutes, gradually becoming the faintest sound that hearing can register. Its diminishing tone guided us toward stillness.
We also experimented with following the exhalation of breath into the quiet.
The quiet, we discovered, rests beneath the sounds or movements/vibrations within – far beneath the gurgling of stomachs and the ringing in our ears, beneath the sounds or vibrations of breath, heartbeat and blood flow.
The quiet resides more in the body than in the head. It’s more felt than heard.
The quiet is elusive. When we grasp for it or strain to experience it, it slips away. When we release effort and allow a natural gravitation to happen, we are gifted by visitations – often brief, sometimes longer. The quiet comes to us, perhaps more than we come to it.
To connect with the deep quiet is a grace, not an achievement. Practice helps us become more comfortable and familiar with the journey, more fluent with the quiet and more available to its graceful presence.
The journey is peaceful and restorative. It offers safety and vitality. We return renewed.
And, from my experience, embedded in the deep quiet is a subtle, sweet smile of unconditional love.