The presence of such Light…

The more I go on with trying to live a life somehow close to what I have come to know of God, the more certain I am that for me at any rate surrender is at the heart of all I can do, or be.

In my last post I wrote of the impossibility of running God to earth, of finding God by our own efforts, or by the power of thought. To remain still, hidden, simply to open the heart in quiet and trust – that seems to be all we can do. It is a paradox, I suppose: finding by not seeking , reaching out in stillness. Nevertheless, it is all I can do now. To think about this, to attempt to write it down, comes much later, if at all.

Richard Foster writes, “Darkness is a definite experience of prayer. It is to be expected, even embraced.” But this kind of darkness is not an absence of light; in fact, it isn’t an absence at all. What it seems to be is the presence of such Light as we not used to receiving – what we might call new light, perhaps. I was struck recently to read that cats’ eyes are able to function in the ultraviolet, which may explain why cats sometimes behave as though they can see something we cannot. Simply put, they do!

Perhaps the stillness of the surrendered heart is simply a matter of looking steadily into what seems to be the dark, trusting that our hearts’ eyes are capable of seeing far more than our thinking minds can credit. William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” Maybe that cleansing, that opening, is what is behind this surrender, this hiddenness; maybe that is what it is for.

We deny ourselves the experience of what actually is by our insistence on knowing its name, when all its name is, is isness, Being itself, in which all that is seems to rest as plankton dances in the water-columns of the ocean, yet is not different. All we can do is watch, steadily, for the Light.

4 thoughts on “The presence of such Light…

  1. Angela Arnold

    Thank you Mike for this lovely post. ‘The stillness of the surrendered heart’ is so very much what it’s about during meeting, and daily life, whenever we can achieve it. No, achieve is of course the wrong word! Whenever we are wise enough to sit and wait for it, open and willing to let it happen – not willing it to happen.
    We are so caught up in the life of not just ‘notions’, not just desires, but aims and targets and ‘work that has to be done’. And where, realistically, would we be without all that striving and doing and making-happen?! And yet, for our work to be ‘good’ we have to stop doing and wait in stillness – but when exactly?
    How do we determine which is the right moment for ‘battle’ or for ‘surrender’? It’s like it’s some complex choreographed dance…but we can only guess at the ‘score’ (or whatever dances have) and probably tend to err on the side of caution, battling on, making happen, not daring to face the darkness/different light of letting go and letting god.

  2. Gail

    Hello Mike, I found this so interesting especially William Blake’s words. It seems to me that maybe many of us need the stillness first before we can truly open to the light. In this aggressive media age there seems to be so little space for stillness and yet we need to purposely check our minds activity and learn the freedom of stillness. God will not be crowded out by our activities, both physical or mental. He will step back and wait. He is so patient. However we, then start to slip backwards and the light diminishes steadily till there is no light. We may have closed the door on the light.
    What you have spoken about takes effort. Our part is to be still and be open to the light and God will do His part. Surrender is as you say the key, but once God is known, well, how wonderful. I want more and will do what I must, to allow that light to penetrate my very being.
    I’m enjoying your posts very much.
    Blessings Gail.

  3. Mike Farley Post author

    Thank you, Friends! I’m away on a Kindlers’ weekend, but I have so enjoyed reading your responses. I’ll reply properly when I’m home…


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