Spring greetings to Friends of Silence! Each new season offers a call to dive deep enough into the calm depths of our heart to reach the serene Silent One. In this way we gift the world with an inner stillness and silence that helps to keep the balance and renew the earth.

For, when all is said and done, each of us, and in the deepest part of our self, has to learn to accept our own essential solitude. In each of our hearts, there is a wound -- the wound of our own loneliness which hurts at moments of setback and can be even more painful at the time of death. And all suffering, sadness and depression is a foretaste of that death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death. We can touch that infinite in art, music, poetry and silence. We can experience moments of communion and love, of prayer and ecstasy -- yet, they are only moments.

We will only find peace when we discover that our setbacks, depression and even our sins can be an offering and a sacrifice, and so open the door to the eternal. We will only find trust when we have accepted our humanity, with all its limitations, contradictions and frantic search for happiness, and when we have discovered that the eternal wedding feast will be waiting for us, like a gift, after our death.

As we stop fleeing into work and activity, noise and illusion, and remain conscious of our wound, as we stop fleeing from our own solitude and accept our wound, we discover that this is the way we meet the One who responds to our cry, which comes from the shadow of our loneliness.

~ from COMMUNITY & GROWTH by Jean Vanier
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If there is any focus that the spiritual leader of the future will need, it is the discipline of dwelling in the presence of the One who keeps asking us, "Do you love me? Do you love me?" It is the discipline of contemplative prayer. Through contemplative prayer we can keep ourselves from becoming strangers to our own and God's heart. Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted and safe, even when we are on the road, moving from place to place, and often surrounded by sounds of violence and war. Contemplative prayer deepens in us the knowledge that we are already free, that we have already found a place to dwell, that we already belong to God, even though everything and everyone around us keep suggesting the opposite.

~ from IN THE NAME OF JESUS by Henri Nouwen
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CONTEMPLATIVES -- whether in monastic community or out in the marketplace -- not only help one another to grow grain and produce the bread of the body, but also bring one another to the spiritual ovens of solitude from which they are nourished with the hot, fresh Bread of the Spirit.

They not only press the grapes of their vineyards into material wine, but they lead one another to the eternal fountains of silence in which they drink the living waters and the rich wine of the Holy Spirit ... Thus, the Word of God comes silently into their midst, and eats and drinks with them.

~ from THE SILENT LIFE by Thomas Merton
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Giving yourself up to love is falling, with complete abandon, into the hands of the living God. This is the deep, interior prayer for which we have been striving. Here we must let go our dependency on thoughts, words, and images. We go into the beautiful darkness. We stop struggling. We let the angels carry us. We let go even of our yearning for God. Nothing is left except being in God. What could I say that would matter when I am in the heart of God? Contemplation! It is like going to heaven for a while.

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Mystical prayer is essentially an experience of unity with God and God's creation. Kything is a gateway to mystical experience and can foster deeper prayer states. When you kythe you transcend separateness without losing your identity. When you kythe you enter into a state of unconditional love and spiritual union.

As a hasidic master once wrote about experiencing this spiritual energy while kything with nature:

When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all the growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.

~ from KYTHING: THE ART OF SPIRITUAL PRESENCE by Louis Savary and Patricia Berne
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Who is a holy person?The one who is aware of others' suffering.
~ Kabir
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