One of the strivings in our program is to serve each individual knowing themselves better whether it be socially, collaboratively, in co-creation, mentorship, apprenticeship, creative expression, or the esoteric high teachings we share from time to time.
From as far back as the ancient Greeks we are reminded that over the archway into Apollo’s temple were the words ‘Know Thyself’ which the Greeks acknowledged as one of the highest goals and strivings in one’s life.
Today I would like to speak about STILLNESS and how it can serve this end.
We have reached the stage in our evolution of consciousness where we are ready to look within for guidance. Westerners, in particular, have turned away from the ‘guru’ model. Rudolf Steiner wrote a book entitled Intuition As A Spiritual Path and, as I understand it, it was his intention to offer this teaching during his life on earth, however no-one was ready to hear him. Now in the 21st century, there are many of us striving upon this path and offering ourselves in service to it.
When I left work in formal institutions in 1995, I began serving children who were choosing alternative models for their education. I was enlivened to think I would be able to open the doors very wide and serve their interests. (The first students who came to me were adolescents who had recently ‘dropped out’) I was surprised at how little inner motivation they had. They didn’t know what they wanted to study and explore and were generally turned off to learning. At first I was bewildered, yet upon deeper reflection, I realized how could they be anything else but bored and turned off. From the beginning of their education they had been told where, what, when, and how. Little was offered to give them a sense of inner listening…the steps toward intuition, gnosis, wisdom.
To Know Thyself, one has to cultivate stillness and the capacity to listen. Each day we are together, I strive to create morning activities that serve this end. First thing we walk the grounds and ‘arrive’ tuning in and listening to Mother Nature. Next we engage in a lively morning circle. Then we move into the sacred time of story and artistic expression.
This is the time of day when I ask the children to be impeccably attentive to what we are doing. First by listening in stillness to the story which always offers a high teaching and soul nourishment. Word by word the children are drawn into the imagination of the story. After story time they are asked to render artistically something from the story. During this time, I ask the children to be still/quiet and listen within to the spirit of the story and what their hearts want to express.
Quiet be my lips
That I may hear my heart’s song
We all know how challenging it can be to quiet ourselves and rest into stillness. I have found this form to be very conducive to achieving stillness ease fully. Because the children’s imaginations have been enlivened, they are more interested in being with what is living inside of them than interacting with one another. It happens naturally and does not require an overbearing presence to control the environment.For those of you who have attended one of these sessions, it is quite a remarkable feeling to be in a room where everyone is in stillness making art. Because these sessions can be so lovely/nurturing/ healing I am always inspired to share them with as many of you as possible, however I have realized that sometimes this is to the sacrifice of stillness. If younger siblings are present and they cannot maintain the stillness or you want to have a conversation with another adult in the room, I ask that you please leave the kitchen/front room area so as to be respectful of this very special time from 11 – 12.
Thank you for the gift of your beautiful children. May we serve their highest unfolding.