Silence, Stillness, Snow
This series of posts, for a good time now, all involve simple descriptions of subtle qualities of Earth; that is, those qualities that continually reveal, if we attend Nature with an open heart and a quiet mind, the Spiritual Earth. One way of imagining these descriptions is as the speech of the Grail. Think of the Grail as the continual descent of the divine worlds into Earth and the continual spiritual/soul birthing from the depths of Earth resulting from this union, with the heart-centered human being as the bridging of the worlds.
Snow fell here in north Texas on Sunday, a heavy, wet snow with an accumulation of three or so inches. Snow falling, large flakes, coming down rapidly, as if being attracted by Earth. She welcomes them. When snow comes, so does the quiet. Snowing opens the Silence, the doorway to the spiritual Earth. The realm of Silence is like a permanent, invisible embracing of Earth that surrounds everything without exception. Developing the capacity of entering into the Silence is an act of preservation of the physical-soul-spirit of Earth. Being aware fully, heartfully, with snowing as a presence constitutes one way of awakening the bodily capacity to dwell within the Silence.
When snow lightly descends, particularly as large, rapid flakes, we get to see the very presence of the realm of the Silence coming into being as the descent of the great geometry of the sky; snowing crystallizes the moisture of falling flakes, becoming the invisible geometry that permeates the very structuring process of the creating of Earth from the spiritual realms. The geometric radiance of each snowflake reveals that the Silence is like a communal effort of the angels invited to Earth by the depths.
The doorway of the Silence also opens the other way as the doorway from the depths of Earth, opening the upwelling of the Stillness. The Stillness comes from a region a thousand times deeper than the Silence, probably from the very center of Earth. In the gnostic myth of Pistis – that is, ever-faithful Sophia, Sophia remains at the center of Earth, as a help to what must be faced by humanity.
It is as if the falling snow attracts the pregnant Stillness from below to come and join into union with the Silence. The realm of Stillness is like a vast open, inner space of pureness, as inwardly pure as the purity of snow. Full, easy breathing arises as all anxiety and tension is dispelled, just like taking a long walk in the snow.
The Silence and the Stillness, their very existence, does not depend on snowing and snow, but they both utilize the garments of snow to draw us into them, and reveal these two most significant qualities of the Spiritual Earth. Once bodily noticed through these gifts, the bridging function of the human being can be noticed through tending these two regions simultaneously beyond the times of their enhancement of the winter.
A practice for entering the Silence: with eyes closed, place attention at a specific region at the periphery of the body, say the outer edge of the left arm. When attention is placed there, it feels like being lightly touched, as light as a snowflake touching the skin. Then, put attention into that place; it is like taking attention and putting it over there. The Silence opens immediately, and it is indeed like standing outside in a gentle snowing. A spontaneous smile comes, like being visited by an angel – perhaps that is why children love lying in the snow and moving their arms and legs, making the outline of an angel who has ‘landed’.
A practice for entering the Stillness: The Stillness is like the blanketing of Earth with snow, looking toward the sky but coming from below. Walking in the snow is also walking within the endless depth of the Stillness. You can get there by first entering into the Silence, and then moving attention down into the infinite inner space of Stillness that opens into the spherical place without boundaries. The body inwardly tingles, a smile again arises spontaneously.
Space as the Sea of Love
Typically, when we perceive the incredible beauty of Nature, the immediate connection seems to be with a particular appearance – a sunrise or sunset, a mountain scene, deer, a forest, a flower, a bear, trees – though, certainly, in these moments of pure beauty, a sense of wholeness is experienced, even when we focus on a single natural presence, for example, berries on a tree.
Still, I’ve noticed something else occurring in moments of the experience of the beauty of Earth, in Her expressions as Nature. The medium of the perception of beauty is always the surround of space. We are not usually at all aware of sensing or perceiving space, perceiving through space, yes, but not the seemingly empty space itself. The seeming emptiness of space appears even more apparent indoors, for example, in a room.
As I sit here, in this room, my office, many things reside – desk, chair, tables, piles of papers, computer, lights. And the floor, ceiling, and walls of the room itself. Within this space, when something is noticed, it seems as if seeing, for example, simply senses something wherever attention lands. I look over and there is my phone, sitting on the desk. The space around the object typically goes unnoticed as it seems to be pure emptiness.
Space is far from empty.
Try visually sensing the space within a room, placing your attention there rather than on an object. As you simply allow this to happen without thinking about it, just relaxed and noticing and staying present with the space, the space does register as a sensation – at the place of the heart. An actual emotional tone registers, a subtle but nonetheless powerful emotional tone, best described as the presence of awe.
Something else happens too. For example, when I’m sensing the space of the room, the solid aspects of the room – such as the wall and the ceiling, as well as the corner and a part of the adjoining wall begin to merge into the space and what was before seen as simply objects appear as if moving into the space, and the walls, floor and ceiling too, now also partake in the sensed emotional tone of awe. I use the word “awe” here because a strong urge to draw back with an intake of breath occurs – the same kind of occurrence when we notice something of great beauty in nature, milder perhaps, but exactly the same tone.
The sensing of space does not occur only through the eyes, but through the whole-body eyes.
We experience whole-body seeing as seeing-feeling. I don’t see an object when I see the space of a room; rather, all of sudden feeling comes pouring into the body, that is, feeling is being seen! This feeling is not ours, it is Earth-feeling, registering bodily.
The things that are within that space do not disappear, but they do change their appearance—they now feel at home rather than those lonely isolated objects that are scattered around.
When I am aware of the sea of space, when that sea of space is noticed, it is feelingly noticed as the presence of Love. Space is the “sea of Love” – that is, endless, borderless, unending depth, undulating, always present – present as connecting, as love always does – love makes connections, love is the connecting. Love is also the presence of peace. As the world becomes more and more chaotic and more filled with meanness, space becomes our refuge. It is not ‘spacing out’, but rather spacing back into the place of the occurrence of Love. Earth is the planet of Love.
Everything said here concerning space as the sea of Love can, of course, also be experienced outside. I chose to utilize a room as an example because a room—as everything on Earth, is of Earth, and sometimes, quite often in fact, Earth offers Herself to be re-shaped, in this example it is the Earth taking the shape of a room.