June 1989 (Vol. II, No. 6)

Greetings to all Friends of Silence as we celebrate the Summer Solstice and move into the season of new growth! A friend called recently to share her new insights on silence with us through Ingram Smith's book, TRUTH IS A PATHLESS LAND:

What can I do?

... as happened a few months ago, the old question of what to do returned. Is there anything to be done? Anything I can do? I put it directly to myself -- aloud: What ... can ... I ... do? I listened. No answer. I waited. Nothing came ... nothing. The emptiness remained. Then, in the silence, quite suddenly, came the realization that the wholeness that I had been seeking and not finding was present -- not "out there" in time and space, not somewhere else, but intrinsically here and now. Silence danced through me. I saw that when the brain-mind stops churning and is still, the longed for blissful dimension is already here ... All this was seen because consciousness was not occupied. That was all. A thrilling aliveness had become a dynamic emptiness that is not void -- space filled with energy ... (with ecstasy)!

~ from TRUTH IS A PATHLESS LAND by Ingram Smith with thanks to Elaine Simard

There must be a time of day

There must be a time of day when we who make plans forget our plans and act as if we had no plans at all. There must be a time of day that when we have to speak, we fall very silent ... and our mind forms no more propositions, and we ask: Did they have a meaning? There must be a time when we who pray go to our prayer as if it were the first time in our life that we had ever prayed; when we of resolutions put our resolutions aside as if they had all been broken, and we learn a different wisdom: distinguishing the sun from the moon, the stars from the darkness, the sea from the dry land, and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill.

~ Thomas Merton paraphrased by Judith Hartley

Shared silence

In every ministry, one is giving something to someone else; in shared silence, one is giving oneself. Sharing interior silence is the giving of one's inmost being to another. When one does this in a group, everyone shares everybody else's level or degree of interior silence. Thus, everyone in the group tends to move to a deeper place than when alone and relying on one's own limited experience.

This is especially the case when silence is penetrated by the gift of interior silence. Then silence is an encounter with the divine presence within. One rests in the conviction of faith and in peace that transcends joy and sorrow. It brings one in face-to-face contact with God, so to speak, a being-to-being exchange.

~ from TASTE OF SILENCE by Thomas Keating with thanks to Rev. Bruce Allison

One who speaks from the soul

One who speaks from the lips
chatters ...
One who speaks from an empty mind
adds confusion to discord ...
One who speaks from a full mind
feeds the minds of others ...
One who speaks from the heart
wins the confidence of humanity ...
But one who speaks from the soul
heals the heartbreaks of the world
and feeds hungry, starving souls ...

~ Anonymous

Do not move

Do not move
in order to touch me,
for I am stillness itself.

Do not be drawn
in many directions
in order to take hold of me;
I am unity itself.

Stop the movement,
unify diversity,
and you will surely reach me,
who long ago reached you.

~ Anonymous with thanks to Abby Seixas

God, our creator and sustainer

God, our creator and sustainer,
you loved us long before we knew ourselves to be lovable and love us still.
Give us, we pray,
a greater awareness of your love for all people,
and a confidence in the action of your grace
in us and in all creation.
Inspire us with a greater sensitivity
to the poor and oppressed.
Give us the courage to act on their behalf.
We praise you today
for your mysterious ways among us:
for your presence in the midst of human affairs
and your seeming absence.
By the power of your Spirit,
may we grow in the truth that impels us to act justly,
and thus give expression to the compassion
of the One who is Love. Amen.

~ from MORE THAN WORDS by Schaffran and Kozak

Listening deeply

By listening deeply to the message of any given moment, I shall be able to tap the very Source of Meaning and to realize the unfolding meaning of my life. To listen in this way means to listen with one's heart, with one's whole being. The heart stands for that center of our being at which we are truly "together." Together with ourselves, not split up into intellect, will, emotions, into mind and body. Together with all other creatures, for the heart is that realm where I am paradoxically not only most intimately myself, but most intimately united with all. Together with God, the source of life, the life of my life, welling up in the heart. In order to listen with my heart, I must return again and again to my heart through a process of centering, through taking things to heart. Listening with my heart I will find meaning.

~ from A LISTENING HEART by David Steindl-Rast

God cannot catch us

God cannot catch us unless we stay in the silent room of our hearts.
~ Patrick Kavanagh