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The Still Point in My Turning World


“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.” ~~ Excerpt from BURNT NORTON (No. 1 of 'Four Quartets') by T.S. Eliot


I love this part of TS Eliot’s poem. I am so aware of those times when I move out of my “still point”, into that place where I know that I am not being present, where my monkey brain seems to spin around, and the busyness of life seems so important, and I know I am no longer the dance but become a dancer looking to join the dance in all the wrong places! AND THEN my universe does not work, and it seems the most unfriendly space of all.


“I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.” ~~Albert Einstein


This last month has been particularly trying for me. It all began from a place of insecurity. The minute I move into that space, the universe becomes very unfriendly, and I begin to question the Love that I have courageously decided to believe in. I begin to look outward and fall into this big gaping black hole and my focus turns to my suffering and the suffering of my friends and the world. These sufferings give me an excuse to believe that the universe is unfriendly!


The universe becomes the “God” of my youth, the angry grey headed old man with a stick. My internal monologue asks questions like these, “If I follow the 'rules', will I be free of the fear that grips me when my universe becomes inhospitable? Are there a set of hoops I can jump through to get me out of my pain?”


“If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning. But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries, and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives. GOD DOES NOT PLAY DICE WITH THE UNIVERSE.” ~~Albert Einstein


I am continually looking at the wreckage of my life and trying to make sense of it all. Essentially to answer my “why is this happening, why has this happened, why did I choose this route?”. As I learn to become still and relinquish and release my suffering, I no longer need the wreckages to make sense but at the same time my actions, questions and choices bear more weight that I dare to believe!


As I take the liberty in paraphrasing Thomas Keating, “I am not isolated and helpless, I belong to a universal intelligence and compassion that is always available to me, because only the universe matters and if I courageously believe, that the universe matters then everything matters.”


The universe is always on my side, and I don’t need to be scared. Even in those wobbling times I have decided that the universe is always friendly, always. I am finding ways to fill in the gap between my fear and my belief that everything belongs, every moment is perfect even when it doesn’t look like it.


By the act of faith along with the help of my chosen spiritual practices, I step into a new reality of believing that my universe works, and my true being will emerge. Finding the still point, I become the observer of my life without shame and pain. The healing is complete, and I am the dance.


It is a beautiful life---- I am the presence of Love


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Tracey Richardson
Tracey Richardson
Jul 20, 2021

I love the "softening my gaze" Stephan, it feels like another dimension to being aware of and embracing the small self. When I am in the thick of my insecurity, it is such a natural response for me to focus outward and the noise becomes is so loud and all I am aware of is the noise. It takes a few hours or days to get to a place of stillness. I love how you say this, "the lack of focus outward helps to bring me to be in the moment and realise that I am more than what I see. That I am "awareness" - the one who is aware, who can notice the noise of the circumstance…


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Johan Toit
Johan Toit
Jul 18, 2021

I love the message contained in T S Elliot's poem, that place of quietness and ultimate rest where we should abide and live from. One cannot articulate it, just experience it. It echoes Jesus speaking about the way the Holy Spirit would impact us - we will never be able to put words to how the Spirit operates, only experience it

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Tracey Richardson
Tracey Richardson
Jul 20, 2021
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"One cannot articulate it", so true Johan. I wish I could grasp the words and combine the words with the feelings, if I could only be more consciously aware of life happening and not be dragged on auto-pilot most of the time. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit breaks into my life and gives me moments where I can experience the "Still Point".


I so wish I could take my experiences and shower them on my family and friends, my words seem so weak. I also love the way TS Elliot uses his words to create a picture of what can be. In my imagination I see the poem.


This is a link to the 4 Quartets'. …

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Stephan Vosloo
Stephan Vosloo
Jul 16, 2021

Thank you so much Tracey. I love the concept of the friendly universe, where life is good, its intentions towards me is for good, and I am just on a journey of awakening to it.

I use an adapted version of the age old practice of the "Welcoming Prayer" to help me to settle down into "The Point" when I find myself in my small self and in either fight or flight mode.

I notice the emotion that comes up, welcome it, experience it, try to name it and then slow down my breathing, notice the air flowing through my nostrils or mouth, notice where my feet are, and lately to soften my gaze (not when I am driving). Softening…

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