GREETINGS and BLESSINGS! Are you prepared for Autumn?
Each new season evokes a resurgence of new energy, a new beginning. We know that from the darkness and deep silence of earth life, there springs and flourishes that which flowers in beauty. When we plant bulbs in the Fall, we have faith that from that brown globe rooted in decay will come a creation so charged with beauty as to seem a veritable breath of God. And, we can trust that each of our fears and problems, rooted in God-soil deep within, will bring forth blossoms in due season.
Just as each new seed requires a period of gestation -- a time of deep silence and solitude -- so, too, we need such seasons. "Someone wrote me recently and asked if it wasn't frustrating to have exterior solitude interrupted. Well, you learn to live out of your interior solitude. And perhaps this is one of the keys to living in the madness, the telescoping demands and resulting exhaustion of our society: to explore our own interior solitude and learn not only to be afraid of it but to live out if its self-discipline, its limitless resources and deep silence. Solitude is like a tea ceremony, the celebration of life in all its homely movements taken out of time -- the wonder of the commonplace, the mystery of ordinary life ... Solitude is being poured-out-through. We evolve toward simplicity. We dwell in the Word."
The basic lesson in observing is in learning to really "listen". Unfortunately, most of us whenever we are engaged in conversation with others really only half listen. And when we visit the great outdoors and attempt to get in touch with the Creation of Mother Earth -- do we really try to listen to the messages that are being expressed either audibly or inaudibly therein? Probably not. In all these areas of communication perhaps we need to discipline ourselves to learn the art of truly listening. We each need to rediscover that if we fill the silence, we cannot hear the voice of God. Once we have learned to quiet down and "center in", then we can begin to hear the voices of Creation and also that still, small voice within which can only come through when we are earnestly creating an attitude of "silence". Whenever we can actually stop our busy merry-go-rounds occasionally and seek quiet times and places -- we can then hear that inner voice of our Creator speaking to us with great love, comfort and guidance for our lives, as we listen with the ears of the heart and spirit! Inner harmony, peace and spiritual growth can take place when we learn to listen -- and thus receive the "gift of silence".
The following prayer-poem was written by Ernest L. Brown III when he was a teenager many years ago. Our gratitude to Mrs. Fredi Brown, his mother, for sharing it with us:
Why do I pray? Why do I breathe?
Why does my heart propel the blood through my body?
I pray because I must ... because prayer is thought,
because prayer is the Nature of God.
What else can be compared to that peculiar comfort,
that indefinable calm that comes stealing over me when,
perplexed and confused, I have turned to God,
simply dropped my burdens and problems,
and flung myself into the Creator's protecting arms?
There is a spirit in us, I am told.
No one with human eyes may see this spirit;
no one may touch it with flesh-and-blood hands.
Yet when I pray I can feel it,
and then it may be said that spirit has talked with Spirit.
Not with words, for there is no need of words.
The spirit in us has touched, recognized and accepted the Lord.
All else has been lost, dropped, forgotten.
No need to remember, to fret and strive after remembering.
I have touched God -- not with my intellect,
my twisted straining thoughts,
not with human-trained logic --
but with something within me which is the spirit in us,
the Christ Indwelling.
Thus it is that I pray -- because I want to be comforted ...
because I want to be strengthened, directed, led ...
because I want to be healed, happy, solvent, loving, loved.
Because I believe that God can give me answers
when I have none of my own, I pray.
A shah of Persia used to sit up at night for vigils and prayers. A friend who was visiting wondered at his long meditations after the whole day's work. "It is too much," he said, "you do not need so much prayer."
"Do not say so," was the answer. "You do not know. For at night I pursue God, and during the day God follows me."