In this post I wish to present a lesson in stillness.
When I pondered on how best to illustrate my practice of stillness, I recalled a scene from a Russian film based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita, one of my favorite books of all time and so superbly screened in this movie.
(This video is not the one I originally posted to go with the comments below, but it contains part of what I am referring to.)
Here I see Pontius Pilate entering into stillness. He lies on his couch and drifts away from reality, setting off with his dog, Banga, along the path of light cast by the moon. He meets Yeshua, whom he is surprised to see alive, since earlier that evening he had been told of his execution. Yeshua tells him that since he is walking along beside him, he is indeed alive and can talk to the procurator as long as he wants.
They talk of cowardice being the most terrible sin. Pilate admits his cowardice, but begs to be understood. “Have pity on me, philosopher! Do you, such an intelligent man, really think that the Procurator of Judaea would ruin his career for the sake of a man who had committed a crime against Caesar?” Yeshua just looks at him in response.
In this moment of stillness, in this encounter, Pontius Pilate recognizes the error of his ways, his cowardice, and says that although this morning he had not been ready to risk his career, now, in this moment of recognition (in stillness where all thing can be known–my comment), he would do anything to save this innocent dreamer, this miraculous healer, from execution.
‘You and I will always be together,’ says Yeshua. ‘ Where one of us goes, the other shall go too. Whenever people think of me, they will think of you.’
Pilate asks Yeshua to pray for him and is reassured by his nod in return.
This, I believe, is a good illustration of a lesson in stillness when all things can be known.
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