It was 4 am one summer’s night and everything was still and quiet except for my mind. As I tried to meditate with no external sights or sounds to distract me, thoughts kept whirling around in my mind. I recalled these words from A Course of Love that I had read just the evening before: “Thoughts are a greater boundary than the dot of your body and a greater means of imprisonment than bars and walls.” ACOL, D: 9.1, and I realised how true those words were. It did seem to me that I could not escape from those meaningless thoughts.
But it is so important to persist with meditation because, as we read in A Course in Miracles, Workbook Lesson 182; “When you are still an instant, when the world recedes from you, when valueless ideas cease to have value in your restless mind, then will you hear His Voice. In that instant He will take you to His home, and you will stay with Him in perfect stillness, silent and at peace…” W340. The thoughts that were swirling around in my mind were meaningless thoughts, and inner peace seemed out of reach. So I got up and went outside. Sitting quietly in the garden with only the birds for company, I did experience some stillness and peace, and a temporary escape from the incessant chatter of the egoic mind.
Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tollé in his book, "Stillness Speaks," warns us that, “Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts. They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalized sense of self that is conditioned by the past.” p.13.
In his book, "The Power of Now," Eckhart Tollé has this advice for those who are having trouble finding that elusive inner stillness. “Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace… This is the miracle of surrender.” p.103.
Whilst sitting in the garden just before daybreak I remembered that it is equally important to forgive yourself as it is to forgive others. If I can’t find peace when meditating maybe I can find it by sitting in silence and tuning into nature.
Eckhart Tollé points out that animals, plants and rocks know how to be still—how to just be. But we have forgotten how to be like that. Therefore, it is helpful to hold something natural in our awareness. On page 77 of "Stillness Speaks," we read: “Whenever you bring your attention to anything natural…you step out of the prison of conceptualized thinking and…participate in the state of connectedness with Being in which everything natural still exists.”
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