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Beside Restful Waters

“You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you.”

St. Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179)

As quoted by Fr. Richard Rohr

It appears to me that Hildegard was able to see in to the future. How could she be so accurate about life today when she lived over a thousand years ago?

I find this a profound statement.

I also find this a disturbing statement!

I sit here unsettled and a bit smug, thinking: Yes! She is right! Why don’t people just look within?


Why do I look within?

Right now, I can only speak for myself. I am afraid to look inside. Well, I try to look inside. Each look within results is a similar revelation – I need to grow up a bit more, or a lot more!!!! I don’t like being told what to do much less being told who I am. Wait a minute.

Let’s get a bit more basic. How do I look inside? Libraries are filled with books about self-realization, self-revelation, self-healing........... There are You-tube instructions and lectures to guide and instruct us. There are classes to take. CDs to listen to. There are all kinds of options. AND, I find those which I have read to have a common and challenging thread: stillness. In order to find myself I have to learn to be still, be quiet, shut up, and shut off my mind.

Damn! For me that is a lot of work. I have stuff to do: grandkids to spoil, classes to teach, canoes to paddle, bikes to ride, ego to feed, a marriage to grow, a body to keep healthy......... Being me is time consuming and practicing stillness is one more demand on my time.

There is another common thread: Humility. Argh! It’ that ‘H’ word! This is in direct competition with the ‘E’ word – EGO. The stuff inside of me is in direct competition with EGO.

‘I want’ is in competition with ‘I am’. ‘Doing’ is in competition with ‘Being’. ‘Surrender’ is in competition with ‘Control’.

So why should I even try?

So, let’s stop and ponder a bit.

Any of us who has exercised an ardent intention to come inside has experienced another common thread to this process.


Any of us who has exercised an ardent intention to become still has experienced a glimpse of peace, a glimpse of restfulness, a glimpse of the possibility of truth. We know this. We know this enough to try it again. We know this enough to set aside a minute or two of “stuff” to be still. When this happens, what out!

Watch out!

Then we set intentions. We set goals. We become obsessed with “doing” meditation, contemplation, acts of stillness...... Then? Bam!


We fail.

We fail to meet our goals, intentions, expectations and we begin to battle the very stuff, that list of distractions that we used as excuses to avoid this act in the first place. BUT! Our souls don’t let us rest in avoidance and denial. We have to do it again. Maybe, we fail again. And again. BUT, the soul will not let us rest until we accept that we won’t be perfect. We won’t be 100%. BUT, our imperfect efforts will bring more experiences with peace, truth, stillness.......

Slowly we begin to see what is going on around us. I am not sure I will ever understand what it is that is happening around me. However, I will begin to know my place, my responsibilities, my purpose in what is around me. I will begin to know that I am part of a whole. I will begin to accept that I don’t have to solve the problems of the world, the country, the state or the city. I will begin to accept my role in my circle of life. I will also begin to notice that my presence matters.


This is a tough one because the lies I’ve lived with will haunt me, berate me, belittle me. Then, you step forward to remind me that this is not about me. It is about us.

As I begin to understand – know who is within me, I begin to appreciate how I am part of the whole of us. I belong. I matter.

We make us belong.

We make us matter.

Now, I can relax a bit. I can listen to the waves on the shore of the restful waters because we have calmed the waters.



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