March Meditation, 2013

We are happy to welcome a number of new women into this virtual circle of friends round the globe who value an inner home of stillness in themselves. This community includes women who have done the Coming Into Your Own program, and many who have not. If you have friends who would like to take some part of the day on the last Sunday of each month in silence, along with us, the invitation is attached. It explains the origins of this shared intent, and ways to participate. The lists are never shared elsewhere.

Chrissy Gilbert sent us a touching piece about stillness, that came to her via Jim Drescher, and to him from a woman who works in Alaska in a native community. May it be an inspiration for the day this coming Sunday.

In loving friendship, Peri and Barbara


A yu’pik hunter speaks: If you would walk the margin of the sky and sea and ever hope to find your home, you must learn stillness.

The thread of home is not easily found in the cold and dark of my land. I do not mean the home where you sleep and eat, though that home can be hard to find too when the winter winds pick up the ice and scatter it across the world.

I mean the home where the heart becomes as still as the white teacher I call my land. For it is in that stillness that the thoughts of Sila can move through you.

It is for that stillness that I hunt.

Yes we hunt for food, and for warmth and for the soft skins that wrap us from birth until death. Yes we hunt for the excitement, as the long days of winter can lose themselves in the darkness and seem to never end.

But it is for stillness that I truly hunt.

If you walk out upon my land and look through the night sky you will see the path of Sila’s breath above you. The white road that starts at the boundary of the earth and sky and stretches like a whalebone to the other shore is the light of Sila’s voice.

I know, because I have heard her voice in the night. Not often, for such gifts do not come often, but enough to keep me hunting forever.

When the air is so cold that your breath falls in crystals at your feet and your skin feels like the touch of another’s hand there is a silence, which is as tight as a drum. You cannot hear this silence if your heart is not beating right. The noise of your own mind will drive you mad at the edge of such silence. Because of this it is best to build the rhythm of your heart slowly, like you would a muscle after a wasting illness.

You may ask by what I build my heart, and because I am kind this moment I will tell you. It is the beauty of my land in which I find the rhythm of my heart;

One curve of a snow drift as it gestures toward the sea; one cloud spread thin by the winds of winter catching the last of the light for the season; one streak of blue between the margins of the pack of ice; one glimpse of Sila’s breath upon the land;

These are a few of the beauties that build the silence of my heart. For it is only when the silence within the heart begins to match the silence of the land that Sila’s breath can be felt.

When sound does visit the snow and ice it is a welcome friend. In the desert of silence the smallest sound casts long shadows. The crack of the ice or the exhale of seal finding her blowhole reaches far across the earth. The snort of bear or the occasional bird song seem like they are happening next door. And on the nights when the sky is draped in curtains of light it is possible to hear Sila’s whisper. You have not seen the lights of the north until you have heard them. Their voices are distant, for they must speak from the sky far above. Their speech is not of this world and so it is not easy to understand when it visits the dark nights of winter.

But if you bend your will to the whisper you will hear many things. This is true of all the sounds that fill my land. Each one is a jewel waiting to be tasted and relished for the signature of beauty it leaves upon the day.

And if you would hear the sounds of my land then you must learn stillness. The stillness of the hunt.

. . . . . . . .

So if you should come to my land, come in silence until the silence has found your voice and then you may laugh and kid with the rest of us. For you see, in our silence we often hear the jokes the world plays upon us. And if you cannot laugh you cannot be silent.

And if you cannot be silent, you cannot be human.

Or so I have learned from the great white teacher, which is my home land.

. . . . . . . .

~ From Coming Home: Voices of the Land, a collection of Alaskan writings


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