Monday, August 6, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

     This morning I have been thinking about "nothing". Literally, nothing, but not in that Zen "mind like a still lake" kind of nothing, but rather that nothing that Christians sometimes refer to as the "dark night of the soul". The nothing that is the silence of the Divine. The nothing that comes about when your "mountain top" God experiences seem like a dim misty memory. The nothing that comes about when you have not had an "aha" moment or a word from God in what seems like an eternity. Yesterday, I came to Quiet to teach my early evening class and...nothing. Not one student, not one clue from God why, not one hint of direction. Just deafening silence. This has happened  in growing this new business. Thankfully, God has blessed me greatly with a sense of His spirit and I believe myself to be on the path He has for me. However, when I am walking the direction Christ has for me, in the past, I have always felt as if covered with a blanket of holy peace. People would ask me why I thought I knew God's will for my life and I would comfortably refer to the "peace that surpasses understanding" that one may encounter in the Presence of God. But what happens when that peace turns to silence that offers no clues? What about when your prayers seem to drop into a bottomless well with no answer forthcoming?

     I read voraciously and from all different faith traditions, so I cannot properly acknowledge the source of my current comfort,  a quote that states something like  "You are the ocean and your thoughts and emotions are merely waves on the surface." Could it be that all of those "mountain top" encounters with God that swelled my heart in my early spiritual life were merely waves. All of those moments where reverence was so thick it pushed me to my knees, tears of gratitude, sobs of joy: all nothing more than surface waves? Is this nothingness, this silence without end, this vast internal ocean,  is this the Truth? In my early spiritual life God indulged me like a little spoiled child. How many times did God display grand rainbows at the exact moment I needed or orchestrate divine "coincidences" before I would stop looking for His hand of reward and start searching for His heart of eternal vastness? Too many to count! But now, for weeks, I have had no clever statuses to update, no blogs divinely inspired, no yoga practices where the Holy Spirit whispered lovingly into my thirsty soul. Nothing but a silence so thick as to be palpable.

       As God grows my fledgling yoga studio, I have struggled with what to do with the classes where no one comes, the classes of "nothing". I have been gifted time and I intend to honor God with it, but how? Do I practice my own yoga, or is that a diversion? Do I go market and network, or is that desperation? Do I thank God for His perfect plan in an empty class, or does that send some kind of message that I am uninterested in growth?  Do I pray that God fills my classes, or is this repetitive prayer like an annoying ungrateful gnat buzzing the ear of the Divine?  To you, the observer, the lesson in patience may be obvious, the call to rest a no brainer. But to me, the student, I still cast about looking for answers. Thankfully I have a solid 22 years of spiritual pursuit and God has proven that He will never leave and never forsake me. I remember that everything that God does is intended for my good and I sit with nothing. And that nothing feels as if I am adrift on an endless sea of silence, but then I remember what I think and feel are just waves on the surface and I dive down deeper into nothing. Maybe when Peggy Lee sang "Is that all there is?" She was on to something. What if nothing is what there is? What if nothing is enough? What if sitting in the silence and letting it wash over you and not looking for a "sign" is the plan? We are so stimulated now that a blue computer screen or a power outage can feel like a death sentence. But what if nothing is the plan for today? Just to sit on the wire like the trusting sparrow letting nothing be everything. I find comfort sitting in silence with my husband. I don't ask him every few moments to light up the sky in an avowal of love. So perhaps it is time to let God's "nothing" be my everything to sit quietly with the silence knowing God is love and not asking for more. It is a childish faith that needs continual reassurance and petting. Deciding to follow Gods direction was me getting into a boat safely moored. Deciding to follow God when His directions are a mystery shrouded in nothing is like untying that boat and casting off into a vast sea.  But as my eyes slowly adjust to the dim mist I see that nothing truly is everything. And for the moment I sit quietly, completely empty and yet completely full.

"We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust” Rumi writes so beautifully
dare I add... returning to nothingness in a twinkle is our fate. Savoring a moment of nothingness in between is our gift.

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