Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
In a recent post, Doug Bennett wrote:
“Stillness is a spiritual discipline (like Mass, like walking the labyrinth, like fasting, like praying, like hymn singing, etc.). Friends don’t see it as a tradition, but rather as an essential practice for their worship together. ”
I have been reading James Naylor in the context of my research on the Wilkinson/Story schism, and Doug’s quote brought to mind Naylor’s words:
“The best expedient for the preserving of the nation is for all people in the nation to turn to God, that with his light you may be led to repentance and newness of life, that that may be done away in every heart, for which the wrath of God comes upon nations and people; and whilst people are out from the light of Christ in their own hearts, such are looking to the hills and mountains for safety and peace; some for kings, and some for parliaments, while wrath and lust increases in your own hearts, and it is that within you will destroy you, while your eyes are abroad for safety.”
“The chief interest of Christ in these nations and elsewhere upon earth, is his spiritual dominion in the consciences of people. And that there he be confessed to be absolute king and lawgiver, to whom alone every heart is to bow and every tongue confess, and that the wills and laws of men usurp not authority therein, but that he by his Spirit exercise the conscience in all things to God and men, and this is his interest which he is now demanding as his birthright in his people, both from kings, parliaments and such as was called protectors, and whoever rules amongst men, which being denied him, his wrath hath been kindled in their kingdom …”
Source: "A few words in Answer to ..."
Stillness or quiet as a discipline or practice like attending church, reading the bible, fasting, etc. is not the type of stillness many experience. Rather the stillness we witness to is a way of being; it is a way of consciousness. This stillness is not a set aside practiced at particular moments in time; it is lived in each and every moment of the day. We do not look forward and reflect back to or on a time when we entered stillness. We hold to stillness in all things. Looking toward outward “hills”, “mountains”, practices, kings, parliaments, congresses, presidents, politicians, teachers, preachers, ministers, institutions, secular or religious is outside Christ’s Presence itself.
What does it mean to turn to God? It means the very transformation of a person’s conscious and conscience. It is a change in the very nature or essence of identity. Instead of an identity that is anchored in secular and religious outward ideological forms, traditions, and practices, people come to know through personal experience the “spiritual dominion” of Christ in his or her “consciences.” That is, people know the immediacy of the presence of Christ with them as their sole ruler and principle. This Presence re-places secular and religious outward guides, institutions, practices, and ideologies.
The dominion of Christ is eternally experienced stillness in all circumstances of daily life. In the dominion of Christ within a conscious and conscience, people do not do or practice stillness, stillness happens in the same way the breathing happens. We do not practice breathing … we breathe in all our daily activities. In the same way, in the dominion of Christ within conscious and conscience, we do not practice stillness, we are still. In the living and breathing stillness our identity rests Presence itself alone in every activity; not in any outward form, practice (even practiced stillness), or institution, whether secular or religious.
The dominion of Christ in conscious and conscience is being in itself. This new or born again conscious and conscience is anchored and informed by inward Presence itself. Being or consciousness is no longer sustained by the outward ideological, institutional, and interactive, triad that binds human being to outward shadows, matrixes, or grids that overlay and overshadow the direct experience of Presence itself. In this different consciousness or being all matrixes are shattered and human being experiences being detached from outward, thought, feelings, will, sensation, and perception so that consciousness transcends outward forms and the bodily nature.
This new Being or consciousness in the dominion of the inward Christ is stillness itself in all things and the powers and principalities of the secular and religious world no longer rule.
This life is open to everyone anywhere. There is no thing you must do or place you must go to receive the dominion of Christ. It is everywhere anytime. Each of us has a gift of a measure of Presence within us; simply rest in that measure of Presence within you in faith. Trust in the promise of its increase if you just change your posture from outward things to opening your conscious and conscience to the inward light itself. Invite this different way of being into all the things you do in your daily life and the stillness will rule and transform your conscious and conscience bringing peace and grace in all circumstances and events.