Anne Strader

February 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 2)

Warm, winter greetings, dear friends. It is still cold in areas that experience seasonal change, but we are past the Winter Solstice and there's an almost imperceptible increase in the hours of daylight. And even on the coldest of days, the light of compassion can warm us. It has been said that compassion is at the heart of all the world’s religions, but it can be difficult sometimes to find it in our own hearts or even to adequately define it. At such times, we can turn within, ask for help, and then, in the silence, listen with our hearts. The answers we need will come. If we but ask and then listen and finally act as our heart directs, we can bring more and more compassion into our suffering world, one heart, one soul at a time.

January 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 1)

Season's Greetings to you, dear friends! As we begin another year on this incredible, awesome, yet fragile planet, let us consider a question together: What might happen if each one of us concentrated on discovering and bringing forth the Light deep within ourselves? How might the world change? What might the leaders of the world do differently if each one embraced the Divine Light within him or herself, and in every other person in our world? Deep within, we are Light; our work is to bring forth that Light from the depths and beam it out to our troubled world. "Let your Light so shine . . ." The healing, the very survival, of our world depends on it. May it be so!

December 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 11)

Warm greetings and deep peace to you, dear friends of silence. As we approach this season of awe and joy, we look around at our wounded world and wonder, "Where is peace today?" It can be so very difficult to find, when all around us we are witnessing the chaos of natural disasters, wars and conflicts. We must turn within; there is much truth in some of the catch-phrases used today, like "Peace begins with me" and "Be the peace you wish to see in the world." Peace is our divine birthright: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you . . ." Let us turn within, we lovers of silence, and claim peace for ourselves, for only when each of us is peace can there be peace in the world.

November 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 10)

Greetings and gratitude, dear friends! As Thanksgiving approaches and we are reminded of our many blessings, you, our community at large, immediately come to mind. In our noisy world, how difficult it sometimes seems to find the silence that feeds our souls! We are surrounded by so many bells and buzzers, alerts and reminders -- telephones, doorbells, computer prompts and all kinds of warning beeps, the roar of traffic, radio and TV. How comforting, then, to think of all of you "out there” and recall that we all carry within us the silence we so need. We can meet together in that silent inner space at any time, wait together for the one sound that matters: that still, small voice that speaks always to those who take the time to listen. Let us gather there often.

October 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 9)

Namaste, dear friends around the world! One of the ways this greeting is translated from the Sanskrit is:

"I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

Let us strive to dwell in that place within ourselves more and more, until finally we are able to live the truth that we are, truly, all one in the One. Only in this way can wars cease; only when we all dwell in our unity can we bring peace to the world. May we come to know this truth in the depths of our being as we meet together in oneness in the Silence. Namaste!

September 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 8)

Greetings, dear Friends of Silence!

When you think of the concept of "time," what comes to mind? Usually it is schedules and deadlines and rushing around! But there’s another perspective . . . think of mountains, oceans, rivers, ancient trees, those things of this world that suggest words like "eternal" and "everlasting." For we know the whole concept of time is our idea, not our Creator’s, and that there is no such artificial construct in eternity. Even if we have to schedule it by this world’s idea of time, we can step into that stream of eternity at any time by going within, entering the Great Silence. There we become part of it, and while we are there time no longer exists. Turning inward, becoming part of no-time, refreshes us and often colors our perceptions so that when we return to this world of deadlines and time constraints, we are more able to "go with the flow" and view our world with new vision.

July/August 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 7)

Summer Blessings, dear friends! Looking back over past issues of Friends of Silence, Nan Merrill's words on "freedom" from two years ago seem even more appropriate for today, given the current devastation and grief so prevalent in our world:

"Freedom is very much in our hearts and minds these days. But freedom is just a word, a concept; an ideal until we will it in our individual lives. We cannot have outer freedom, however, if inwardly we are imprisoned by our fear and all its negative companions. Yet blessed are we who choose to face our fears, one by one. . ."

May we so choose as we meet together in the silence of our innermost being. May we project strength and love outward to our suffering planet and all its inhabitants. As Nan went on to say, "Silence is the golden key that helps us open our heart-gate wider and deeper toward freedom: thus, we bless the world."

June 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 6)

Warm Greetings, dear friends! The garden is in, flowers are growing and blooming, and summer is coming on. The seasons turn according to the music of creation, listening for the crescendos, andantes, rests, and allegros, as all of nature follows the Great Conductor in the eternal symphony of life. We, too, are part of the concert, even when we may feel a bit off-key or appear to be out of step with the rest of the instruments. At such times, especially, we must listen with the ears of our hearts for our cues, trusting, knowing that the music of the universe flows through us. We have only to enter the silence and "tune in" to pick up the beat and find ourselves back in the flow. As we listen to the strains of our own melodies, may we feel ourselves immersed in Great Music of our lives, guided and directed to perfect harmony with all of creation.

May 2010: Vol. XXIII, No. 5

Warm greetings, dear Friends! Grace abounds on this sparkling spring day. Rachel Naomi Remen, in her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, writes about the story of a poor man walking along a dusty road one day, wondering whether he would have anything to eat that evening, when suddenly the gods took pity on him and dropped a bag of gold in his path. He was not ready to receive this gift, however, and detoured around it without investigating, thinking himself fortunate to have avoided stumbling over such a large rock in his path. Our lives are full of such a "bags of gold" appearing in our path, but they rarely look like the gifts they are. Sometimes they even appear to be just the opposite, and only looking back do we perceive their value. As we meet in the Silence, let us seek the vision to recognize the many gifts of grace with which we are richly blessed every day.

April 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 4)

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Springtime Greetings, dear friends! Although at a casual glance the landscape may still look a bit barren, we know things are stirring and soon we will see signs of new growth. That welcome first sighting of green grass...the earliest tiny spring flowers, sometimes peeping through a lingering snow...a little more light each day...fat buds popping out on the trees -- all these signs tell us that much has been gestating in darkness, deep within the earth, unseen during the bleak winter days. And what of the depths within our human souls? Like our earth, we, too, have fallow times when it may seem nothing is happening; but something, some new insight or idea, the seed of a new awareness may be trying to break through into consciousness. In the silence, let us tend our own inner gardens, that we may find springtime signs of new life within ourselves: blessing to us and our world.

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