The city of Savannah was built in a grid pattern with a square in the middle of each grid segment, each square serving as the park for the houses surrounding it. The Spanish-moss covered oaks in the parks now shade the squares, making each park a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city and because of this I like to occasionally make the half-hour drive into the city, get a coffee from my favorite corner shop and sit in the park right across from it. One time my coffee was accompanied by entertainment as I observed a man with a saxophone who, for half an hour at least, tooted two or three notes, looked up as if expecting applause, and then endlessly repeated the sequence. One noon not long ago I pushed away all of my work and, despite forecasts of bad weather later in the day, drove into the city to just have an hour or two of park-time. I got my Costa Rican coffee, crossed the street and chose a bench, sipped and watched the tourists, one of whom sat on a bench two-away from me, reading a newspaper that he held up in front of himself. At the entrance of the square directly opposite myself I saw a man wander in whose hair made him look as if he had just unplugged himself from an electrical outlet. He wandered over and eventually stood in front of the newspaper-reading tourist and announced, “I am not who I appear to be!” From behind the newspaper I heard the tourist reply, “Welcome to the club.”
Dark clouds heavy with mischief sailed in so home I went before the storm hit. Well, they did say that the weather might become difficult, but given what happened around 7pm that’s like saying that a snake might bite you if you try to pet it. The day’s breeze turned into a wind so violent that the tree canopies began thrashing around like widows crazed by loss. Then lightening bolts began scissoring the night’s darkness into pieces. I knew what was coming so I turned off my computer and unplugged it; sure enough, we soon lost electricity, the house went dark and the fridge in the kitchen stopped humming to me. Having neither a Tablet nor a phone anywhere near approaching “smart” I no longer had access to the internet, movies or emails, so I dragged a chair over to the window, opened it and listened to the world on the other side of the screen door. Gradually my eyes adjusted and the darkness revealed its hidden life. No longer bombarded by other sounds, my ears began to hear the quiet; the world outside, which when the electricity went out seemed so utterly still, slowly revealed its subdued sounds.
It seems that the less we have to listen to, the more we hear, just as the less we “grasp after” the more our heart is able to connect with the Divine from our place of inner stillness. As I sat in the dark listening and thinking, I wondered if that tourist ever lowered his paper and actually “saw” the man in front of him who was not as he “appeared to be”?
Is there more to you than you “appear to be”? What does your heart hear? Have you come across your place of inner stillness? Do you want to?