December 2020: Stillness

Stillness is a relative thing, it gives itself away when all else fades. The hubbub of this and that cannot go on forever, for it takes a lot to sustain commotion. Stillness is the background upon which our cartoonish lives are printed. Stillness emerges in all its enormity when the trite retires.

Stillness is a relative thing, for it can emerge in the midst of fantastic tumultuous, when all motion converges in a laminar flow, when all things align to pull in the same direction. This is stillness, when everything moves together.

Stillness has a certain mass and heft, like a wheel of cheese. Disruption shoots through, poking holes, but the stillness heals itself. Like hands smoothing out a bed spread, the wrinkles fade away. Stillness can be vapid and fickle, filling in the time between a good idea and horrible consequence. Realizations can only come out of stillness, we wait for them.

Once upon a time, there was a field where I would stop on my way home from school. It was in the flat place where I grew up, and nothing particularly special. It was good to see the things that existed there despite me having never known of them. Standing in the rain, the wind, the freezing cold, the fog, it did not matter. They were there watching at the edge of the field, in stillness imposed by hammers and their natural dead weight.

I like to think of stillness as a healing place, something that provides space for new things to emerge. What new thoughts can rise up out of a placid mind? Could that be terrifying, too? Here come the wild, untamed parts of our subliminal mind, no longer restrained by the stories we tell. This stillness, it can be maddening, it can be bliss, it can be nothing. Into stillness, I dissolve.

Have you found stillness in the presence of other people lately? It is profound to be open, to let stories be still, to align with others without words or actions. To be still together. I miss that.

Eric Studer
on behalf of the Board of Trustees