"Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment." The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:61
"Nothing appeared closed to me: because I was the door of everything" The Odes of Solomon, Ode 17:10
"And peace was prepared for you, before ever your war was." Ode 8:8
Life is strange and beautiful.
Some years ago, I experienced a strong vision during meditation. While I love meditating for the centering and balancing affect it gives my being and my life, I have to admit visions like this one were not a common occurrence. Generally, it was me driving a vision, meaning, I was fully aware I was the one visualizing whatever scene I chose at the time that brought the result of a sense of peace within me, which was usually some place by a body of water. So when I began the meditation, it was business as usual.
I can't say for certain when this particular vision took over, my only awareness of it having done so being after I came out of the meditation, which was right after the vision ended. It felt more like a dream, but I was fully awake, alert, and aware of my surroundings.
I heard a woman weeping, and shifted my attention to the sound, for the sound of her weeping was like none I'd ever heard. My heart was evoked, and all I could think was to bring this woman some measure of comfort in whatever way I could. Then the vision opened up to a woman kneeling on the edge of a high cliff from a mountain top. The panoramic view before her was gorgeous, yet I knew the woman didn't see any of it. I felt her heart to be broken into a million jagged pieces, the depth of her grief more than anything I had ever experienced. So all consuming was her grief, I feared she'd die right where she knelt. I even considered death may be a mercy for this woman.
Suddenly, there appeared a man on horseback. I recognized him immediately, and rejoiced, and as I did so, I became the grief stricken woman. I was she. He called my name, and I raised my head to look at him. His expression was stern, and I remember feeling he was behaving as if he had no compassion. He called me to him, so I stood and walked the short distance to stand by his side, looking up at his stone faced expression. I didn't know what I had done to displease him, and I felt my heart break a little more than I believed was possible. He sat silently on his horse, looking down on me with what I thought to be displeasure. I remember feeling as if that would be the final thing to undo me beyond repair. It was good I was drawn away from the edge of the cliff, for the pain alone from the mere thought of having displeased this man would have surely been the final thing to send me over it. Instead, I stood broken, fragile, my heart wide open under his gaze, the grief all consuming.
A commanding shout suddenly emitted from the mouth of this man as he flung his arm out before him, and as he did so I turned into an owl, and flew to land on his outstretched arm. I felt the gaze from his eyes penetrate me, and then his face became like the ray of the sun as it broke into a beautiful smile, he shouted again, and then his laughter filled the air as he lifted his arm and set me free to fly.
I lifted myself up and up and up, glorying in the feel of my wings, strong, powerful, silent in flight. With each beat of my wings, I felt grief and sadness drop from me, and the warring of my heart and soul eased, and my spirit rejoiced in true freedom, my being filled with awe and wonder, no longer bound to the ways of this world. I rose toward the stars, until it felt as if the night sky blanketed me with its soft, velvety beauty.
And there I remained in Silence.
I never wanted to leave it. Yet out of the vision I came, back to this world, and into my life. I had no idea at the time what this vision meant, yet I never forgot it, nor the experience and feeling of that silent flight. It was the most real thing I had ever felt. In the days and years to come the vision's meaning was revealed.
I began to walk that trail of tears in life several months later. What I considered to be a betrayal of love merely the doorway to it, and a grief struck my heart with such force I honestly didn't know what hit me. I couldn't even name it at first. I only knew my heart felt like it was suddenly exposed and bleeding, and I felt as if I was being undone from the inside out.
In my darkest moments, when I'd come to a point of laying myself down in complete surrender before a God I wasn't even sure existed anymore, for I could not feel Him, the light of that memory of the silent flight of the owl would come to me, like a beckoning star, asking me to hold on...asking me to trust. In those moments, it felt like a promise given, so I clung to it with all I had within me, even when it took everything in me to believe it. I clung to the hope that somewhere, at some point in time, that promise would be fulfilled in me.
And here is what I learned:
Why is it a challenge to be still? For in the stillness rises all that we have ignored or denied in our life. Once we begin practicing meditation, placing our being in stillness, we are sometimes surprised, and misunderstand what begins to bubble up from that stillness. It is only in stillness that what needs to heal can come. It comes first as a trickle of water, emotions long left behind...or so we thought. The more persistent we are in remaining still, and reaching for understanding, and allowing what will come to come, the wider the river gets, until one day it floods our being with tears long left unshed.
All that I thought I'd left behind, all the grief I thought I'd sidestepped, the pain from love lost, the pain from a myriad different episodes in my life rose to the fore. Long had it been ignored, put on the back burner to be felt another day. That day had come, and it flooded my being like a river. Our emotions go nowhere, until we release them through our tears.
I once read a quote: "Tears on the outside go away. Tears on the inside stay, and stay, and stay...."
I wept for dreams unrealized. I wept for pain unfelt. I wept for things I didn't have, and would never have. I wept for love unmanifested. I wept for love lost. I wept for all I have ever loved. I wept for those I didn't love. I wept for those left behind. I wept for you. I wept for me. I wept until there was no reason for weeping. Reason...eventually got up and walked out of the room. And when it did...my eyes finally opened...
For what I did not see, but could only sense as a distant promise, was that there was a Force behind the waters of emotion. A Presence that was beckoning me to clear the way with my tears. Once the river was flowing, the dams broken, this Presence could come. I had made the way straight in my heart for It's coming.
There is a Peace that passes understanding. There is a Love behind all things. Even the tears we shed. When I thought I could go no more, when all tears had been released, leaving me feeling emptied, hollowed out, and when I stepped into complete surrender, I found myself wrapped in Silence, and within that Silence, Peace came, grief left behind, and Love filled the empty spaces.
I cannot truthfully say that it was my wings, my effort, that lifted me up to the Silence of the Stars. Its more that it was the Love in the wind beneath them that carried my being to freedom.
Now I have eyes to see...and my eyes will remain on the One thing behind all things....Love. For Love is the Glory of God, and Love is the only thing that will ever bring peace. The Truth will set you free. That Truth is Love.