February 23rd, 2006

…and AGAIN with the timing! While I recognize references to stillness, solitude and silence in earlier entries (Alick frequently brought-up these ideas in our meetings) this is the first entry that presents a fully rounded idea, connects it to a traditional practice (even though a MOVIE serves as the connective tissue!) and begins to truly seize my attention. That this pull toward the monastic was underway while I was unwittingly wandering into  circumstances that would REQUIRE something like a monastic practice in order to survive, is cause for worship.

It makes me think of how a pregnant woman’s body begins to prepare for the upcoming birth without her consent and sometimes even without her knowledge. Life will find a way, it will prepare its own way, and it will find its way into the world even with violence.

“What if burdens were proportional to the galaxy? Two galaxies can pass right through one another, and no two atoms would collide – there’s that much SPACE within them.”

What if?

Well – my first and most obvious thought is that burdens become irrelevant. They become a non-entity – without substance.

Francis of Assisi responded to his buddy who said, “I want to help you…” by saying,  “Words…there was a time when I believed in words….”

I love that line. Something about the film making in that moment (Brother Sun Sister Moon) really drove home the point that Francesco had been truly freed from the burden of words, of ideas even. It’s like he dipped his toe back into the substance of burdens just long enough to give his friend a clue – “Don’t SAY you want to help me…that is meaningless. It’s a burden that you feel – and that burden is 99.99% hollow. It has no substance. Instead – actually help me.

Later –when listening to another friend wax quite eloquently, honestly and at length about the burden of his existential angst…Francesco doesn’t seem to be listening…at least not in the way we’re taught to listen.

His response was simply to ask his friend to donate a stone to his church re-building project. His friend seemed to see in Francesco’s detachment – an answer. HE saw one who was living in the space between the burdens.

The lyrics to the song say:

“If you want to live life free, take your time, go slowly. Day by day, stone by stone, build your secret slowly. Day by day, you’ll grow too, you’ll see heavens’ glory. Do few things, but do them well, take your time, go slowly.”

Silence. Stillness. Slowly.

I have a fight on my hands.

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