in New York City, there is a little chapel/prayer room under the church of St Francis of Assisi around west 31st street in the where you can go and get a place of peace from the hustle, bustle, and noise that man creates in the city. on the street level, you have life moving at a fairly brisk pace in relation to many places on the planet, and while there are parks around that allow for a bit of a hint of nature, it is very difficult to find a place with minimal noise. the little chapel is where one can go and find others looking for a breath of peace.
what I didn’t know is that St Francis was like many monastics and ascetics in that he was born into and lived a life that was fairly well off, yet, something inside the heart, should and mind had him go to walk out a life that probably seems a bit insane. to give up the earthy things we value to gain riches in poverty. when I think of life in the united states and all the push for commercialism and the acquisition of stuff, a man like St Francis would probably appear insane. yet, it is the people that go live this life of poverty for spiritual growth who possess a gift that most of us will never understand.
so rather than listen to me babble, the life story of this man is pretty interesting. in the eastern denomination of Christianity, we are aware of St Francis, but up until this morning, I really never knew about his life.
what I do know, is that there is a lot to be said about letting go of the stuff of the world and finding a peace and change inside of your heart, even though the “logic” of the human mind has to get past what appears the opposite of how the world tells us to live. yet, it is in that letting go where you come to something truly amazing in the spiritual realm.
I was on a conference call yesterday with a group trying to create spaces for people to go and meditate and heal. I was listening to the various groups getting all excited about the various therapy and technologies to help a human being increase performance. most of the ideas do something, as I was always a big Guinea pig for things that could improve performance, so it was funny to me that I was going back in time with the research in the 1990’s and where the technologies are today.
what I notice is that the people speaking are really nice people who are seeking something, yet, our human logic or faculties will think we can somehow control that which is a bit bigger and wiser than us…nature itself. perhaps this is where in listening, I heard the words come out of the speaker’s mouths, yet there was a disconnect. have you ever been around someone stuck on an idea, yet, they don’t have the knowledge, time or are willing to put in the actual effort to make it happen? the words sound hollow, like muffled bells being rung
perhaps that is why I smiled when I realized I might have a solution that will allow a human to go through the entire process to get to a space of silence. one of the speakers asked, “why nothing? why the silence? what do you mean you don’t want our special color/light/blinky therapy with soothing sounds. we want to re-create nature in its highest sense and let people take trips!”
I smiled, “after chasing that path for many years, it has been my personal experience that you don’t need any of it. however, we live in a world that wants instant gratification and a life with minimal or no pain or discomfort.”
“what is wrong with that?” they asked
“in theory, nothing, but do you really grow if you never take the time to start at the foundation and look within yourself?”
it was a truly interesting interaction when a light bulb of sorts went on, albeit a short time before they looped back into the human-improvement-gizmo and all the accoutrements of having and app, revenue streams, and while a good idea, a technology that probably needs 15 years to develop to get where what we want today is possible.
“the think with silence, letting go of yourself, and nothing – is that it forces you to come to space where you can’t hide anymore from yourself. there are no biofeedback loops, sensory deprivation tanks, empathize rides or any other thing to cover or mask yourself. the first-time people find this spot, usually, they are terrified and scared.”
“what about the second time?”
“the fear leaves and perhaps everyone starts a spiritual path much like St Francis and the realization that nature itself is far wiser than any human invention of definition of “love.” people will start to change, yet, as humans we don’t realize change isn’t usually quick or fast, but rather a longer journey. “
as I type, I also realize that such a change is a choice. it is really easy to go back to where you were and have a comfortable space and put your little toe in the water once in a while, or you can go take a plunge of sorts if you will and while the journey isn’t guaranteed to be fun or easy…. the riches you will acquire are indeed priceless.
like I mention, it doesn't make sense to the human logic, but that is the interesting thing about faith and or a spiritual path in life. you have to walk it out and you have no idea how it is going to turn out. what you do realize is that to get where your heart wants to go, no other human can fill that space.
then your life becomes a sort of game of hide and seek, perpetual amazement, genuine lessons learned via experiential pain and joy…and you realize there is a lot more going on than we know. you realize how little you know, and you simply stop and wait in silence. what we try to fabricate with our technologies is simply something given for free.
that was indeed one odd post. some days I just sit there and type and get to the end of the time and wonder, “what on earth did I just type.” have a wonderful day, If you are in new York and find the noise a bit too much, take a few moments, go down into that basement and spend some time within yourself.