When we look at a breathtaking sunset, we see an array of colors: deep reds, light pinks, vibrant oranges, and soft purples. We notice how these colors blend together-how one color ends as another begins. Within this mix of light-filled beauty, we appreciate wisps of floating clouds ... the sun aglow with fire.
At first we are captivated by the striking colors-the outline of the clouds-the peacefulness of the moment. In time, though, we come to sense something deeper. We begin to feel an intimate connection with the universe.
In Stillness is a short story about a teenage girl who experiences a spiritual awakening while studying her reflection in a stream. Upon returning home, she shares her experience with her father and speaks invitingly of oneness, of feeling love in the present moment, and of seeing beauty in everything.
With identical father/daughter and mother/son versions, In Stillness brings the reader back to the present moment through vivid descriptive narratives and joyful insights. Like a peaceful meditation, it is best read slowly and may be revisited many times.
Inspired by hundreds of spiritual conversations the author has had with his own daughter and son, In Stillness reminds us that our children are not only our greatest gifts but also our greatest teachers.
A fourteen-year-old girl named Rachel was walking with her father along a dirt trail in the woods. As she ventured off the path, her attention was drawn to a nearby brook where she saw something shiny in the water.
She bent down along the bordering rocks and placed her hand in the cool stream. Just before grasping the shiny object, however, she noticed her reflection in the water. Something about her reflection captured her interest, and she spent some time studying it.
Several minutes later, she heard her father calling her and ran to catch up.
At dinner that night, Rachel's father asked her what she was doing by the stream.
Rachel looked up at her dad and said, "I bent down to get something shiny out of the water, but as I looked closely at my reflection, I discovered something."
"What did you discover?"
"I noticed my reflection had merged with the reflection of the surrounding trees, the reflection of the deep-blue sky, and even with the water itself. All had become one.
"At that moment, I had the most intense feeling of love. It was a love that filled me with joy ... with an overwhelming sense of unity and peace. I knew I was a part of something greater."
"Can you tell me more about the feeling of love and unity that you experienced?" Rachel's father asked.
"It was a feeling of such tenderness. I felt my love go out to everyone and everything. I was one with all."
After taking some time to reflect on the event, Rachel continued. "It led me to understand that my spirit and the spirit of God are inseparable-that my beauty and God's beauty are one and the same. I realized there is no beginning or end, that everything is connected, that all borders are illusory. The spiritual energy in one thing flows into the spiritual energy of another. There are no boundaries."
"Rachel, are you saying there is spiritual energy in everything?"
"Yes," Rachel replied. "Since everything was created by God, everything has the energy of God, the energy of love, within it. Even something as inanimate as a rock has the energy of love within it.
"Of course it is much easier for us to sense the love in another person, or even in a plant or animal. But if we look closely enough, we can see and feel love in everything. We can see and feel love in the wavering flame of a candle, in the ripples of a wind-swept lake, or in the rich grain of a piece of wood.
"We can experience love in the music of a seashell, in a cool summer's breeze, or in the sunlight as it plays upon the morning dew. Yet we can go even further. We can also experience love in a ceramic pitcher, a concrete sidewalk, or a bouquet of artificial flowers ... all of which were created with materials from the earth ... with resources from God's garden.
"Love is in everything. We just need to look closely."
George Sifri completed his internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University after attending medical school at The Ohio State University. As a practicing physician, he developed a special interest in healing through spirituality, often conducting seminars at local universities. He currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, Raye Ann, and their miniature schnauzer, Ubu.
His children, Suzanne and David, continue to share their spiritual insights with him on a daily basis.