September 1989 (Vol. II, No. 8)

Greetings to all Friends of Silence in this season of reaping the fruits of the harvest ... a good time to meditate on the seeds we sow in our hearts, on the fruits we offer the world, on what will be the harvest of our heart-seeds. And, 'tis always the season to stop and reflect on how much time we are giving to prayer in the Silence, which provides the fertile setting for the Life that is in us to grow.

One way prayers are answered is through this enlivening of self

God answers us in the flesh of our experiences -- physical, emotional, intellectual, imaginative, spiritual. Prayers change us when we are answered by an expansion of self, by more self made more accessible to us. The words with which we pray to God lead us into ourselves, to hear that primary speech so actively discoursing within ourselves. New thoughts come to mind; we see new communications between things we were thinking. New ideas of what we should be doing spring up; a new willingness to do what we are doing arises. Old duties, as regular and onerous as daily housekeeping or office tasks, seem to fall into place and become less weighty and preoccupying. Energy to improvise and imagine different courses of action and ways of seeing things comes to us.

One way prayers are answered is through this enlivening of self. We feel not only more alive and real but more our own selves. As we expand, life expands ... the space of our being seems to become larger and more porous, more open and less buttressed ... we pay more attention to our own reactions, which now indicate to us what to move on to next -- where to seek forgiveness from someone, where to keep silent; where to offer help to someone, where not to interfere ... we become more grateful and see better how much there is to be thankful for ... we reach for the other and are given more of our self ... we reach into our self and are given more of others.

~ from PRIMARY SPEECH BY Ann & Barry Ulanov

I choose you

I chose you and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last ...
~ John 15:16

Finding one's path

A paragraph from Frederick Franck's new book, A LITTLE COMPENDIUM ON THAT WHICH MATTERS, which he graciously sent to Friends of Silence, also speaks to this theme:

D. T. Suzuki wrote that the spiritual life is pain raised above the level of mere sensation. 'Spirituality, born from life-pain, is that specifically human impulse from delusion to the really-Real within and outside of ourselves,' which characterizes the maturation of the human inner process: the thrust towards, and the commitment to, the Real ... Authentic spirituality is intimately related to firsthand, direct experiencing. It may mature through various disciplines, as for instance structured meditation and verbalized prayer. To live in radical openness to pure experiencing in the kitchen, bedroom, subway, newspaper, that is: to everyday life, inside as well as around oneself may, however be the equivalent of both formal meditation and verbal prayer. It is it he finding of one's path without being 'bamboozled, confused, side-tracked.'


Persevere in the Holy Presence

I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me. And I make it my business only to persevere in the Holy Presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to God, which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God, which often causes me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them and prevent their appearance to others.

~ from PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD by Brother Lawrence

I became a seed and fell into the ground again

Wouldn't you know it? Last autumn I became a seed and fell into the ground again. That is why I haven't written for a while. How could it always is in the soil. And dark. You can't imagine! But it doesn't matter whether there is light or not because you have no eyes. You feel all alone, and you don't know there are other seeds around you who are also trying to see. Then a little shoot begins to grow out of the top of your head and it starts to feel its way upward through what seems like all the dirt in the world. The ascent is long and hard; you believe it will never end. Then one day in May you break out and into the sun and air. Your eyes are restored, and, when you look around, there are poppies everywhere, all celebrating their own resurrection. What a feeling! I was just beginning to enjoy my own red blossom when a cold September wind stole into the valley and I returned to the ground. Now spring seems an impossible flower. I would surely lose heart if Jesus hadn't told us we are all seeds and that someday we will rise permanently and fall will be no more.