November 1990 (Vol. III, No. 10)

GREETINGS IN ABUNDANCE to all friends of Silence this harvest season! As we recollect the gifts of this year, may we also be mindful of the Source of our deepest blessings. Edith Stein, in "Thoughts", a compilation of some of her writings, reminds us of how every moment is to be a time for giving thanks:

Contemplation and action

For the blessed souls who have entered the profound union of divine life: rest and activity, contemplation and action, silence and speaking, receiving the gift of God in love and returning love by waves of thanksgiving and praise, are the same thing.

~ From THOUGHTS by Edith Stein with thanks to Walter Reinsdorf

We are all one silence

SILENCE and HOPE ... they belong together. Only in the silence of hope can we find our deepest communion. 'We are all one silence', says Thomas Merton, 'and a diversity of voices'. How can we keep our ears attuned to the silence of our common hope when the divergent voices of our hopes distract us? How can we tune in to their ultimate harmony, audible only to the ears of our heart? Only by being still. Only by nurturing in our heart a stillness that grows big enough to embrace even contradictory hopes, a stillness strong enough to go beyond all hopes in hope ... Hope brings us to the core of contemplative transformation: GLORY. Glory is seed and harvest to hope, its initial spark and its ultimate blaze.

~ from GRATEFULNESS, THE HEART OF PRAYER by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Sometimes we talk too much

In the middle of a healing conference on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, a young Native American died of acute alcoholism. Unfortunately, it is not an unusual occurrence on Indian reservations to die of alcoholism. I was working with Matt and Dennis Linn who were in training on the reservation. We were invited to the wake that was to be held later that evening. The Linns told me what to do when we got to the tribal hall.

"When we go into the tribal hall tonight, the man will be in a casket in the front of the room with all of his grieving family around him, and nobody will be talking. The Indian people will be there. Go in, don't say a word, take the hand of each of the grieving relatives, shake it once, and sit down with the rest of the people who are there."

We sat there in silence with the family. The Native Americans sat there all night long with that family, not saying a word. Your presence speaks so much louder than anything you could say. Sometimes we talk too much, rather than remembering to "be still and know that I am God".

~ Anonymous

The deep things do not come suddenly

The deep things do not come suddenly. Let us be patient -- with ourselves. We may recognize many defects in our natures ... it can all be removed. Go on working silently. Silence and patience go together. Silence has wonderful creative power. Innovators conceive an idea but they do not go out and shout it before the world; they think silently and work quietly until they realize their ideal.

~ Swami Paramananda
Concentration and Meditation
By Swami Paramananda

Peace me to together, Oh soul

Peace me to together, Oh soul,
Assemblage human and holy,
Peace together the life and the prayer,
That the Current flows strong in stillness,
And a twinkle in the silence catches the breath,
Oh wonder!

~ "The Black Butterfly" by Richard Moss

The new challenge for all peoples

The new challenge for all peoples is to broaden our sense of spiritual community, becoming fully ecumenical not only concerning whom we pray FOR, but also concerning whom we pray WITH. If humankind can begin to pray together we can begin to live together, finding new and creative ways to reduce the evils which plague our planet. But how can we pray together with integrity, when we differ so much in beliefs? The best way to being to pray and meditate together is in SILENCE. Words are not enough. In silence we can sense that we are not separate from anyone, and so we can dare to hope for peace. For silence to "work", participants must bring to it some degree of trust, love, and letting-go: a trust in the good-will of the others which moves them to join in such an expression of human caring; a love which brings a sense of heart-felt connection with the others as human beings; and a letting-go for a short time of our desperate clinging to the convictions which separate and divide us, letting these recede to the background of consciousness. After the silence, we return to deal with the same differences, but in a different spiritual climate.

~ Donald Evans

What I find distinct about gratitude in the wilderness

What I find distinct about gratitude in the wilderness is its simplicity -- the thankfulness I feel here is for what I usually take for granted: my capacity to breathe, move and see ... For the most part, gratitude here wells up unexpectedly, in the quiet corners of the day, over events small and ordinary. Gratitude is the other side of dependence on God: to take anything for granted in the wilderness seems presumptuous, blasphemous. And so, here in these naves of vaulting stone, prayers of thanksgiving begin to edge out prayers of petition.

~ from WILDERNESS SOJOURN by David Douglas

In moments of solitude

In moments of solitude -- awareness enables the mind and spirit to focus through awe and wisdom on a world of indisputable loveliness -- and to evince its eternity ...

~ from INFINITE DESTINY by Gwen Frostic
The Infinite Destiny
By Gwen Frostic