May the blessings of inner peace and quiet joy be with each of you as we move toward the autumn season!
Let us, then, labor for an inward stillness, --
And inward stillness and an inward healing;
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks in us, and we wait
In singleness of heart, that we may know
God's will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do God's will, and do that only!
If we still ourselves, we can mirror the divine. But if we engage solely in the frenetic activities of our daily involvements, if we seek to impose our own schemes on the natural order, and if we allow ourselves to become turbulent ... There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves. True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude where we allow our minds to settle. Just as water seeks its own level, the mind with gravitate toward the holy. Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear if it is allowed to be still.
One might say, I had decided to marry the silent forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife. Out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world. So perhaps I have an obligation to preserve the stillness, the silence, the poverty, the virginal point of pure nothingness which is at the center point of all other loves. I attempt to cultivate this plant without comment in the middle of the night and water it with psalms and prophecies in silence. It becomes the most rare of all the trees in the garden, at once the primordial paradise tree, the axis mundi, the cosmic axle, and the Cross.
at a time.
I have to gestate the experience,
bake it in my mind's oven,
I need just to be
and listen to my silence.
We have to earn silence, then, to work for it: to make it not an absence but a presence; not emptiness but repletion. Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think, and so sink below our selves into a place far deeper than mere thoughts allow. In silence, we might better say, we can hear Someone else think ... Silence, then, could be said to be the ultimate province of trust: it is the place where we trust ourselves to be alone; where we trust others to understand the things we do not say; where we trust a higher harmony to assert itself.
Dom Henri le Saux, a French Benedictine monk, suggests that the sacred sound "OM" can be used by anyone:
More than any particular name of Divinity, OM conveys the ineffability and the depths of the divine Mystery. It bears no distinct meaning ... It does not even recall any mythological or semi-historic event. It is a kind of inarticulate exclamation uttered when you are confronted with the Presence in yourself and around yourself.
You could say that OM is a name of God which is not a name.
Silence makes the secretions of the mind visible. By emptying myself when I fast, emptying myself in solitude, I might discover myself full -- of history, wilderness and society. And I can see my identity co-evolving with all of creation ... I willingly entered the Valley of the Shadow through solitude, silence, stillness, meditation, and prayer. In those quiet places, I discovered a mindstream whose depths were luminous.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
A day filled with noise and voices can be a day of silence, if the noises become for us the echo of the presence of God, if the voices are, for us, messages and solicitations of God.