A Moment of Silence
* * *
The moment sensation becomes more important than your mental conversation, the depth of the moment will contact you. And that depth is residing within you.
*David Radin. A Temporary Affair: Talks on Awakening and Zen.
* * *
There is a depth at this moment, each moment, here and now, wherever, and we do not have to find it. To realize this depth, we do not have to subscribe to being saved, liberated, enlightened, or trying to become anything other than what we are. When we are available to it, it meets us. To say we contact it means it contacts us.
* * *
Sitting alone and meditating in the dark, quiet study at First Presbyterian Church in my fourth decade, the recollection of a small pond arose. The time was early adolescence. I was trekking among the pine trees in the woods outside the front of the family home. The small body of water had been there all my life, but that day I discovered it. I was in wonderment about this unexpected meeting. No one had told me of this place. I wonder if anyone knew it was there.
The water was restful and sedate, reflecting the sunshine. I felt a sense of mystery uncovered, a peace matching the solaced surface. The face of the water and its secrecy from a noisy world mirrored my search for a quiet center amidst confusion and loneliness. No one had taught me how to find what the pond reflected that was within me.
Then, in the study, some twenty years later, remembering those still waters touched something deep in me. I mused on the thought of the Center - an experience we enjoy through loving attention to the sacred within us (Later, I came to see this "within" is about intimacy, not location. The "within" is nonlocal. We can meet this within everywhere.)
Returning to the Center is not finding a new place but becoming present to this place. "New" and "old" do not apply, nor does here or there. The Center is not a place. We call it many things, but it is none of them. As Jesus said -
Or, if people should tell you, "Look, he is out in the desert!" - don't go out there; or if they say, "Look, he is hiding here!" - don't believe it. For the Son of Humankind (i.e., everyone) will come like lightning flashing across the sky all the way east to west.
*Gospel of Matthew 24.26-27
* * *
Many years after discovering the little pond and over a thousand miles away, the image arose again as I sat under Fall sunshine on a Sunday morning. I could see the pond reflected back to me home, for home was with me - not a physical address.
Home was with me back then in the woods of Georgia and now in coastal Maine over forty years later. Home had never left. And thankfully, I had learned, through the insight of others and experience, how to live at home.
* * *
Sometimes, I leave home, but it does not leave me. Home is always present for my return, and it does not judge me for leaving. Home is the depth David Radin speaks of in the opening quote, the aliveness we meet when we experience what our mental chatter had been concealing. And this depth, this home, is where peace is, as peaceful as the tranquil waters of that pond. Today, remembering that time and place from my teenage years, I see and feel its calm.
The pond is gone, as is the pine forest. But it lives within me. It was a message for me to remember. I would not have recognized it that day if peace had not already been with me, regardless of whether I knew it.
To say home is always with us means peace is here and here and here ... Sometimes, we need help learning how to return to where it waits for us - to home. And when we return, we find we returned to ourselves.
* * *
*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2022.
*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and notation of title and place of the photograph.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.