The Still Man

The Tree and the Cloud at Dusk

HERON LAKE SP, NM—In the early morning, three fishermen arrived at my camp, their tires softly crunching on the gravel road. Down by the lake, they silently unloaded their equipment, set up their chairs, and cast their lines out into the waters. In stillness, they waited.

A chipmunk poked around at the base of a bush. An osprey soared overhead as I pushed away my thoughts, released my boundaries, and lost my Self in Her.

Last evening, Randy asked me to join him to meet a fellow camper. Randy, though he had met him himself, had heard mixed opinions about the man. Some said he was slow, some said he was odd. Others said he was some sort of prophet.

Randy wanted my opinion of him—wanted to know the truth of him.

We drove to his site, but he wasn’t there. His friend kind of smiled, pointed to his bike and said if his bike’s here, then he’s around here somewhere—wandering around as he was wont to do.

Sitting alone at a picnic table, overlooking the lake, we came across a lean, still, man gazing peacefully out over the water, silhouetted by the setting sun. I was immediately struck by his quietness, by his stillness, by his fittingness with the serene scene behind him.

Randy had met him a few times before, so the greeting was easy and unforced. We sat and chatted idly and the sky was lit with a brilliant orange as the sun slowly set behind the clouds and the mountains.

The man asked no questions, yet was open and responsive and friendly to all asked of him. From within his being radiated a profound stillness, a stillness seemingly reflected in the surrounding trees and lake and sky.

Gently I introduced some topics, relating them to my own experiences, yet to each—from the quiet mind, to synchronicity, to an Intelligence behind it all—he had no opinion nor profound words. He would just nod—not in agreement—just in showing he’d heard what I’d said, with no opinions on the subjects either way.

Whenever he would finish talking, he’d turn his head back to the lake and watch the setting sun and the conversation would die down into silence.

As I would watch new questions arise in my mind, as I’d push them away to enjoy the stillness, I realized this man had an utter lack of curiosity—a lack of inquisitiveness which gave him a naturally quiet mind and almost animal-like acceptance of the present moment.

It was later that I realized that it was this man’s lack of curiosity—his naturally still and accepting mind—which led others to believe him both a dullard and prophet… a sort of quiet Forrest Gump.

His still nature and accepting attitude is what practically every spiritual seeker seeks, yet it is their attachement to the noise and curiosities in their minds which prevent them from finding it. Noise and curiousities which this humble, still man seemed to naturally lack.

He was a simple, still and quiet man. I both admired and envied him.

And yet, in either his or my own ignorance, I felt a little melancholy for him.

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10 thoughts on “The Still Man

  1. Thank you for sharing the story…..
    Everyone is different….
    I enjoy stillnes and the peace that comes with that,
    and also enjoy to hear a persons story,
    am still curious to listen and talk to people…
    today I am stillnes…and very much alive…

    best regards…kerstin

  2. It’s hard to say what the issues are without a little background on him. He may have had a traumatic brain injury or cognitive impairment of some sort. I think it’s possible one could be mystically inclined and not be aware of all the buzz words and/or literature. I often feel more sadness for many of the “normal” people out there.

  3. Welcome to the blog kerstin & bethers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think he is an intelligent man, not impaired at all. He’s just quiet, and still, and calm, and I think those are admirable qualities. I’m quite grateful to have met him.

  4. Great entry. Without attempting to know the source of the melancholy, soften and open to it…it is a door. These are just the sorts of things that arise when we are undone by Presence. When we fail to grab these roots of the self-worlding dream with mind, they can dissolve. It is like a beautiful death, as we previously were identified with the resistance to these feelings refused at the beginning of time. Go sit with the man again.

  5. “His still nature and accepting attitude is what practically every spiritual seeker seeks, yet it is their attachement to the noise and curiosities in their minds which prevent them from finding it. Noise and curiousities which this humble, still man seemed to naturally lack.”

    It looks like the teachings given by contemporary teachers are all about “observing”, “noticing”, “watching”, and “allowing experience to be as it appears.” As if taking a step backwards and just looking at whatever comes up, “enduring” it in a way. The old Western mystics call this “purging contemplation.”

  6. lately and more than ever before my ‘i’ is feeling content but not complacent,
    i’m more ‘still’ but not quite dead yet:))
    sometimes im like a tree, just still and watching the birds come and go,
    the day and night rotate and the wind blow…
    watching without interfering or having an opinion…
    other times i am the bird, the day the night and maybe most of all
    i am the wind blowing to and throw…
    disturbing the peace with all my baseless intangible opinion
    but both states are good as its through both these states i get the opportunity to see
    that the real Doer is not me…
    as Rumi says ‘Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the lover be :))

  7. Meeting “The Still Man”… It’s like going to a library and not being able to open one single book. Being left with only ones own thoughts ….it’s all experience, it’s all good. ( :

  8. Your description of The Still Man reminded me of a few lines in the Tao Te Ching – an apt description of some of those who are awake. “She” shows up in varying ways.

    Stop thinking, and end your problems.
    What difference between yes and no?
    What difference between success and failure?
    Must you value what others value,
    avoid what others avoid?
    How ridiculous!

    Other people are excited,
    as though they were at a parade.
    I alone don’t care,
    I alone am expressionless,
    like an infant before it can smile.

    Other people have what they need;
    I alone possess nothing.
    I alone drift about,
    like someone without a home.
    I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

    Other people are bright;
    I alone am dark.
    Other people are sharp;
    I alone am dull.

    Other people have a purpose;
    I alone don’t know.
    I drift like a wave on the ocean,
    I blow as aimless as the wind.

    I am different from ordinary people.
    I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.

  9. A long, long time ago, when I was in a state of fear, near panic, in my mind came, ” In the silence, hear, ‘God is here. In the silence here, God is, hear.'”

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