When I started to think about the strings...an excerpt I read from a book called Letters To My Friends by John Conley came to mind. I read it...oh...probably a year ago. I think our minds work like a computer with some haphazard, half butt filing hierarchy. At least my brain works that way. Have you ever tried really hard to remember a name...of a movie...an actress...a street where you used to live? The harder you try, the more elusive the name becomes. Then...when you finally give up and focus your attention on something else, it pops up...just like that. That has always amazed me. So even though I sometimes have to wrack my brain to remember a name that is on the tip of my tongue, the short writing by John Conley that I read a year ago came immediately to mind. I remembered that it talks about strands...luminous strands.
When I close my eyes, I can see luminous strands of light stretching from me both forwards and backwards into eternity. These strands are my fate, and I know of only one way to free myself of them. Who we think we are at any given moment in time is but one of the many strands that flow through our life. We grab onto this strand and cling to it. We call it life, and we believe that this strand is the only strand. We are blind to the many other strands that flow through us unseen and untouched.
For example, we may latch onto the strand we call anger. We may decide that is how we are, and how we always will be. Or, we may latch onto the victim strand, and we will allow nothing to shake us from our conviction that we are victims. These are the strands of our personal history.
Were we but able to see, we could change our entire life in a moment. We could be enlightened now. We could live lives of abundance now. Simply by grabbing onto the strands of our dreams. But we are blind, or at the very least, I am blind.
And in our blindness we are stuck. We don't realize that, although we are unable to change the past, the future lies before us filled with promise. And is our destiny set? John Conley seems to believe that it is not.
For in Stillness we have the power to change our destiny. We have the power to grab another strand, which will lead us to realms unknown. And if we are not still, we are slaves of our past. We have no choice but to be who we are.
Although his term for God might be off putting for some, I have no real objection to it. As if we could sum up God in any one word anyway...or in any ten billion words. So when he refers to "Stillness" I simply substitute Abba Father since that is the way God has revealed himself to me. And what does he mean exactly by "in Stillness" or the opposite..."not still"? My friend Brian posted something today on EU that used Christian terms to express something very similar. He talked about "walking according to the spirit" or "walking according to the flesh." When we are in Stillness we are walking according to the Spirit. When we are not still, we are walking according to the flesh. Our only hope of change, is through the wonder working power of the Spirit.
By practicing Stillness, we sever the strands that bind us to our past, a past that determines our future. We sever these old strands through our decision to do so, and we gather new strands to ourselves.
Perhaps Jon Osterman, the character from the movie the other night, didn't realize he could gather new strands to himself. Perhaps he was convinced that he was bound to the old strands....bound not only to a unchangeable past, but bound also to an unchangeable future. Perhaps the luminous strands are the connection to our source of never ending power...our Abba Father, the Stillness. And what Jon Osterman saw...the puppet strings....perhaps they were simply the ties that bind.