October 31, 2023
To continue the Shifting Sands Story of October 18
By Amba Gale
The camels moved slowly across the Saharan desert. There, it was easy to be one with the camel, the sand, the sky, and the easy lope. It was quiet. Below the quiet was a kind of Silence where time did not exist. Just me and the camel, and the camel in the line in front of me, as we crossed the sands.
The world is very noisy right now. Turbulent, chaotic, where the stormy seas send waves like tsunamis across our lives.
In a recent workshop I took with poet Mark Nepo, he said, “While we may feel powerless to make a difference across the world, we can bring light to where we are.”
I liked that very much. I see that as my Work. What can I do, who can I be, to bring light to where I am?
Depth, as Peter Block says, requires time. Connecting with the Light that lives within requires depth. In the rush, rush, rush of our everyday lives, we stay on the surface. Who has time to read these newsletters? Who has time to really be with our families? Who has time to inquire into questions such as “Who am I now?”
And without that kind of time, we lose a sense of meaning, we lose a sense of purpose in our lives. On the surface, said Mark, the ocean and the waves are disturbed by the weather. But, if you go down enough, not to escape, but to not be so battered by it, there is less disturbance.
It is below the surface, where we can experience the wholeness of life, where we can connect with our own Source, where we can drop down deep, to where we are real, where we can “find out own God-given nature.” Here is the short poem by Mechthild of Madgeburg, the 13th century mystic:
A fish cannot drown in water,
A Bird does not fall in air,
Each creature God made
Must live in its own true nature.
To “live in our own true nature” means taking ourselves out of the noisiness of the world, quieting ourselves, and moving into a space of spaciousness where time does not exist. We can hear our deep wisdom speaking to us, and then, later, we can return to the world, connected with that wisdom, on behalf of seeing more clearly, hearing more clearly, and being at one with the pace and unfolding of life.
What will it take on our parts to engage our inner and outer world in that way? The Joy of Being, which is being offered in February, is precisely a conversation that opens us to “live in (our) true nature.”
This is the poem that recently came to me about the experience of climbing the sand dune, where the sand kept sliding out from under me, out in the quiet of the desert, and the oh-so-very different world of our Berber guides.