“Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.”

This is a line from a poem called Today, by Mary Oliver. The context is:

…I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m travelling a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

Mary Oliver (Today in “A Thousand Mornings”)

Bearing it in mind has led to my beginning again to share contemplative short videos on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLGIrKgiMCpkOyOAvKB4wUg

Even the process of uploading the videos, which involves watching them again, has brought a kind of stillness, settling over me at the beginning of a new season. It seems to me that we are living in increasingly anxious times. This stillness sparkles like a jewel when you find it. I hope these little videos will help many people to find stillness. Without it, I fear we will inevitably find ourselves making decisions out of anxiety, which will rarely, if ever, be good decisions for us or for the planet in general.

Gaia by Luke Jerram

I had the extraordinary experience of encountering Gaia, by Luke Jerram, hanging in mid air outside at Greenbelt Festival recently. It’s an inflated globe, with NASA images of the earth from space somehow projected on it. It glows at night. During the day, you could hear recordings of the astronauts’ astonished conversation as these images first came into view for them as you walked under the globe.

Then there were these other worldly golden beings giving everyone pause for thought about the sun, global warming, this year’s increasing droughts, wildfires and the looming reality of climate crisis. I can’t really articulate in words the effect all of this had on me. But it was something to do with awe, wonder, stillness and a commanding of my attention in a beautiful way. May this stillness lead to compassionate and creative action that will make a difference. That is my prayer, which I am seeking to live out, keeping open to possibility of how I might embody it.


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