Discovering the Stillness

“Time makes us old.
Eternity keeps us young.”
–Meister Eckardt

I was talking to Fabio tonight about how all of us get tired of running and eventually begin looking for Eternity… and how most of the time we come up empty. The world is spinning too fast, we can’t seem to find the center. I see us all on one of those amusement park rides where we struggle against a huge, spinning disk, like ants on a record player, running like crazy, trying to reach the center… and peace.

But we can’t slow down time, can we? Not slow enough to taste it….

It reminds me of the final scene of Our Town, in which the protagonist can no longer handle the pain of revisiting her childhood because all the events go by too fast. Her parents and siblings are in such a hurry to complete their tasks and recite their roles that they don’t even notice the beauty and majesty of each treasured moment. (If you haven’t seen this classic play, you can usually find it at a local theater. If not there, you can easily find it on YouTube, where there are dozens of high-quality versions).

Or else, we can be like the aging prince in the book Gattopardo, who clings to past glory and youth, and so finds himself in love with stargazing – because the stars are the slowest moving things in the universe.

But that’s still not slow enough!

Then, just when we are about to give up, we might get to see it one day, reflected in someone’s eyes, maybe a saint’s, maybe a lover’s: Eternity! Someone, somewhere, holds our gaze long enough for us to feel that stillness, to stand in the middle of that swirling disk. Finally, a pause, a moment of rest! And something in that stillness changes us. The air changes. Our breathing changes.

In fact, from that moment onward, nothing in the world has as much flavor as The Stillness anymore.

First, we run after it desperately, thinking that it is in some other place… or in some other person. After that doesn’t work – for the hundredth time – do we begin looking inwards, towards ourselves. We purify our lifestyles, we begin meditating, we simplify our homes, we eradicate toxic elements, we cleanse our bodies, we do anything and everything we can in order to make the search easier. We start to investigate the only place we haven’t looked…

It’s like the famous story of the Musk Deer who, smelling the most beautiful scent in the air, makes itself crazy running throughout the forest for days looking for its source.

Only when it’s exhausted does it find out where the smell actually comes from.

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