As I walked around the corner in Cambridge, last November, I came across this fiddler, not only playing beautiful music but doing so as he danced and swayed in rhythm along the rope strung above the pavement. Memory of this scene has been evoked on several occasions this week.
This morning I attended my first yoga class in over 5 months. It was a class held at The Coast Centre, a local leisure and learning centre for those over 55s and not engaged in full time work. What I became aware of was how out of practice I am and how important a solid foundation is to my stability even in simple poses.
Stability had also been on my mind since reading Week 5 “Obedience, stability, conversion: Commitment to the creative life” in The Artists Rule by Christine Valters Painter. A commitment to stability is one of the vows taken by a Benedictine. Christine draws attention to three facets of stability: stability of place, stability of community and stability of heart.
Stability of place encourages one to preserve and not run away from the difficulties and challenges that come our way be it in workplaces, homes or relationships. Stability of place also encourages us to delve deeply into our cultural and historical roots in our families, communities, nation and the cosmos, honouring the land, vegetation, wildlife and forebears. The Divine is in and through all. Stability of community requires us to cultivate relationships in families, neighbourhoods and the communities to which we are connected, seeking kindred spirits whist embracing those we tend to outcast. And stability of heart requires us to be alert to, to listen to, that quiet inner place that resides deep within, to stay present and open to what it is revealing.
It seems to me this focused attention is paramount not only to the fiddler on the tightrope, the practicing yogi, the vowed monastic but also for the wandering mystic on an ongoing pilgrimage of discovery.