(Warning! This post is not about bread, though there will be one one Tuesday to prepare for our class on Thursday)
Yesterday I had an opportunity to got to the San Diego Temple with my friend Xochitl. We ended up in a Spanish speaking session which was no problem for Xochitl but I had to get outfitted with brandnew translation equipment. Very cool! I found out today that the Apostles Peter, James and John in the Spanish language are: Pedro (of course, I see Napoleon Dynamite’s friend in my head), Santiago et Juan. I had no idea that the name of JAMES translated to Santiago. There, I learned something new today.
The temple is a peaceful place where you can leave all your earthly worries at the double sliding glass doors. So, today I thought about stillness, quietness and peace. Have you ever been in a place that was completely devoid of noise? Some of you may have not ever have had that experience because those noiseless, peaceful places are very hard to come by. And some of you may actually feel uncomfortable in that kind of environnment. I can honestly say that in my entire life (and am going to reach the ripe old age of 50 in two months) I have had only four experiences with utter peace and perfect stillness. And in three of those I felt the presence of God.
When the first instance happened I was still doubting the existence of God (yes, I used to be an atheist, I admit it). I was in the Italian Alps and my friends and I had taken a cable car up the Fiegljoch (don’t even try to pronounce that!). I wandered away from my group and came to a meadow where I sat down and enjoyed the absolutely breathtaking view of these majestic mountains! There was not a soul around me and the perfect stillness was only interrupted by a lone cowbell every once in a while. I remember feeling a stirring in my chest that I would not have been able to describe at the time. But I remember the utter peace that I felt deep inside.
Many, many years later we were in Alaska and we took a flight on a little propeller plane up Mount McKinley to land on a glacier field high up in the mountains. There was nothing around us but ice, snow and mountains and again this perfect stillness that brings us closer to God. I just remember the vastness of the ice and again the feeling of utter peace within me.
And the third time was when we were at a cabin up at Mt. Palomar in California. Everyone had already gone to bed when I went outside by myself. It was a cold, crisp night and the sky was clear and filled with stars. Even though there were many trees around the cabin there was absolutely no wind that night and everything was perfectly still and quiet. I was in total awe of the silence and tears filled my eyes as I felt the presence and warmth of God in this cold and starry night.
I will always treasure these spiritual moments.
Yes, I did say there were four instances, however, the fourth one did not amount to a spiritual experience because the stillness was interrupted by one who always speaks. But if you ever want to experience another place completely devoid of sound, go to Box Canyon in California where the Mormon pioneers forged their trail. And be sure to go alone or take someone with you who,like you,would enjoy perfect stillness!
And if we all aspired to create places and spaces devoid of noise, I believe we could end all wars. Because wars can only exist in noisy environments. Good-bye bunkerbusters, good-bye hydrogen bombs, good-bye atom bombs! If it makes noise, you may not use it as a weapon of war. We shall have to re-write the Hague conventions which you may not be familiar with. It deals with the use of weapons in war and excludes certain types of warfare. I submit we include “to exclude the use of noisy weapons” in this protocol. That would immediately cut down the remaining weaponry to next to nothing. And then there would be peace on earth!
Over and out.