Tonight, the Fifth Holy Night, look at a calm soul life.
Certainly in our very agitated times, our souls need constant calming. It is obvious. There are whole industries around creating calm - spas, yoga studios, retreat centers, books, CD’s and DVD’s. I am fairly certain that if you are subscribed to Inner Christmas, you are well aware of the need for calming. To attend to calming during the Holy Nights is quite meaningful and quite different from the seeking of calming activities during the rest of the cycle of the year.
Calm Soul, Poised Soul
A calm soul is poised between spirit and matter, and between inner life and outer life. The calm of the Holy Nights keeps us poised between the past and the future, between the known and the unknown. A calm soul feels composed, elegant and ready for what comes toward it from the future.
Agitation is the opposite of calm. An agitated soul is chaotic, distracted, irritable, edgy. Poise, composure and elegance are absent in an agitated soul. Agitation drives a soul to the extremes of too much and not enough. We get caught in thinking too much and doing too little or we are crazy busy and don’t really think clearly. Feelings roam from fire to ice. Our consciousness is slippery, not steady.
In overcoming agitation and establishing an inner calm, we find self-mastery. Do not resent your areas of agitation. Resentment is an agitated response. Rather calmly accept the experience and patiently transmute your energy in simple ways.
Words and Phrases for Calming
In the mysterious mood of the Holy Nights imagine calming words and calming phrases for a few minutes.
What are words that describe calm in your soul? Stillness, openness, gentleness, serenity. Write them down. Say them silently in your mind. How do you feel as each word finds its meaning in your heart? Say these words in a soft voice. Sound them out slowly and notice the feeling of each sound.
In the last four nights we have worked with nature, divinity, others and self. Look to these four for calming images and phrases. Sky, pond, breeze, rose. Being brushed by an angels wing. The gaze of a Renaissance Madonna. The Buddha's smile. The touch of my grandmother's fingers. Reading Emily Dickenson by myself. Write them down. Speak the phrases in a soft voice. See the images with soft eyes. The calm soul is soft.
Keep a list of these words and phrases. Add to the list during the year. Share your list with a good friend. Let these words and phrases keep you soft and calm. You might take crayons or colored pencils and write out these words and phrases. Put them in places that you see in the ordinary course of your day: on the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen cabinet, even as the screen saver on your computer desktop. When you see them speak them in your soft voice. Let them instill calm in your soul.
As a spoken word “calm” is extraordinarily calming. The sound that forms the word “calm” begins in the back of your mouth with a closing between the back of your tongue and your palette. It then it opens up in a rounding way to end with the gentle closing of your lips. To me the forming of the word, calm, creates a protected space in my mouth.
When your soul needs to be calmed, perhaps just slowly sounding the word “calm” and feeling that protected space in your mouth can be calming. The sounding of the word reminds or restores to consciousness stillness, grace, openness, gentleness and serenity.
The Holy Nights are like the word calm beginning with Nativity, allowing this sacred space for the renewal and the repurposing of our lives and closing with Epiphany. It is a time of holy calm.
Do you notice that calming requires will. In our modern agitating times, we must engage our will, our intention, to provide our soul with calming. But we must also bring our attention to that activity for the calming to be restorative. Many of us have developed self-soothing behaviors that are automatic, even addictive. These activities of will without thought do not offer restorative or “holy” calm.
Conscious activities require a balance between activity and thought. In the sounding of the word, calm there is a conscious willed beginning, a rounding fullness of doing and then a soft completion. The “k” sound at the back of the mouth takes a real force to make. The “ah” rolling with the “l” flows to the closing “m” sound. Calming activities take a conscious force to begin. They roll forward with a purposeful goal. The goal is achieved and the activity comes to a close. Calm is an active experience, not a passive one. Calm intention, calm attention, calm engagement and calm completion is the evidence of a calm soul.
Calming activities seek to bring beauty and harmony into being and into consciousness.
Calm in the Past and in the Future
What were the calming moments of last year? What were you doing that created the calm. How was your will engaged? What were your thoughts.
Think of the coming year. What imaginations fill your feeling life with holy calm? Do you have the calm will to take the needed actions? Do you have the calm thoughts to direct and sustain your attention?
Surrender your soul to the holy calm of the Holy Nights.
Please share you calming word, phrases and images by leaving a comment.