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 begins in a search through nothingness for God and for meaning ends in friendship. In our surrender we come to know God as friend: 'I shall not call you servants anymore ... I call you friends.' Without friendships something is dead within us. Just as a healthy openness, frankness, sincerity and an attitude of respect are fundamental as a foundation for prayer, these qualities are also developed in friendship. For deep friendship brings an empathetic knowledge of the other, an understanding that comes from love and compassion.
Friends grow together ... challenge each other. Friends have the power to draw the best out of us. To have formed a few very deep friendships is the blessing of a lifetime. Silence offers us the luxury of deepening our friendship with God ... of knowing how dearly we are loved by God. The Beloved will speak to us within our self-understanding, love us within our self-acceptance and celebrate with us when we celebrate with our friends."
Even with "nothing" seems to be happening in our prayer-life, we can trust that in the Silence we are growing in contentment, serenity, understanding, empathy, friendliness and concern.
I used to be stone deaf. I would see people stand up and go through all kinds of gyrations. They called it dancing. It looked absurd to me -- until one day I heard the music!
A new vision comes when I can stop looking into the blazing sun that blinds me, and I learn to focus more on deeper, more intimate and hidden beauties and light. It's then that I begin to feel a taste and a hunger for a new love and a new vision that calls me further on. It's then that I can begin to hear a quiet gentle voice within calling to me, inviting me, telling me that I have an immense value, because I am loved and wanted -- not for what I possess or what I have achieved, but simply for what I am. And what I am is this unique person, quite unlike anyone else, with my own story and my own very special light shining in my eyes. This uniqueness of mine comes from one source alone. It comes from the loving call to me by my name from the Author, the Creator and the End of my life. This is the road of your life and mine.
i am a little church (far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish) at peace with nature
i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing.
'Tis good to celebrate in the Silence those
Moments of gratitude for the friends who have
walked with me ...
There is always a return gift waiting in my heart.
It is for those who took off their shoes
to be reverent with my coming,
For those who stood on tiptoes beside me
when my hope was small.
It is for those who were present
when I needed my feet washed.
It is for those who raced with me to the tomb
on the day I was certain it held
nothing but death.
It is for those who celebrated my emptiness
with me and
For those who broke with me the kind of bread
that fed my death new life.
The meaning of the contemplative life -- of all spiritual life -- is love. Love is at once the origin, the means, and the goal of human spirituality, and when seen through spiritual eyes, the meaning of life in its entirety is love. God's love is endless, boundless without qualifications. Love must create, and we human beings and all the rest of creation are continually born in and from God's love. Creation brings forth diversity and separation. This permits a sense of "me and you," "I and thou," lover and beloved. In other words, we are created as unique individuals so that we may love God and one another. Love is the reason for our being. In our individuality and separateness, each of us is given a longing for re-union, a yearning for the greater fulfillment of love. In the endless movements of love, there is delicate beauty, majestic power, unbearable joy and considerable pain -- and freedom.