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I Stay, I Go


27th September 2002

11:35am: I love hearing the church bells. I am 2 blocks away from Mt. Zion and the church bells ring every hour on the hour. Something about hearing them calls me back to myself. Thich Nhat Hahn, the wonderful Vietnamese monk, speaks of living at Plum Village. Every hour, I believe, someone rings a bell. At this time everyone stops what they are doing and just breathes and comes back to their bodies and comes back to a state of pure awareness. That's what I do when I hear the bells. I stop.

A decade ago, living in Denver, again near a church that rang it's bells every hour, I was in the fearful throes of a condition called Panic Disorder. One of the side effects for me was hearing the church bells in my head on a continuous loop for several weeks. At first I was highly alarmed and thought for sure that I was losing my mind. Then after a bit, I realized I probably wasn't though I felt I had the power to set things in that direction if I started to panic about them. So instead I decided to accept their unceasing presence and would even make up little jingles to sing along with them. I had turned to God briefly in that time, for strength, so most of the jingles were about Jesus being there with me, holding me, supporting me. I actually did summon an enormous amount of inner strength during this period of my life and at one point I realized that it was coming from me. That I was strong & powerful and getting through this with sheer will & courage and yet I was giving all my power away to something outside of me. Why? Truthfully I don't know.

There's a great quote, " Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." - Mandela.

Damn, that rings so true for me...
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