January 1992 (Vol. V, No. 1)

BLESSINGS, dear friends, as we begin the fifth year of this monthly offering. Friends of Silence started as an inner-city contemplative community of individuals committed to pray in the Silence. Linked to a growing number of groups and individuals around the globe, we open our hearts to radiate love as one response to the violence, injustice and confusion in the world today. The outward, visible results of our silence are often difficult to discern or define. Yet, by faith, we continue to meet together in the solitude of our homes to pray in the Silence -- and, to experience the inward fruits of the Spirit at work in us ... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, gratitude ... May your own Silence of the inner being offer blessing, harmony and balance to Love's Creation in this new year!

Somehow, I must sit to listen.
Standing implies a readiness for action, for the executing of the will.
To hear You I must sit down and calm down.

The magpie mind chatters.
It doesn't know about stopping.
How helpless I feel in its automatic firing, its busy babbling.
It is impossible to hear You as long as I am full of sound.
I turn this helpless prayer toward You.
... slowly unknowing everything, becoming dark,
becoming yielding ... just sitting.

~ from BEING HOME by Gunilla Norris with thanks to Marjorie Michael
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When you know, without a shadow of doubt, that the spirit of God is within you, for you have actually experienced the Presence in the silence of your heart, then you have truly grown in being. In your daily life you become a proof of this knowledge -- a witness to others by what you are. A witness in a court testifies to what has been seen, and the strength of that evidence helps to clarify the truth of the case. So, as one who knows love, you convince those with whom you come into contact, of some indefinable quality which seems to give you the ability to flow with life with a glowing radiation. Others derive strength from your strength, and their fear is dispersed -- even if only momentarily -- by your peace, your understanding of what they are going through, and by your sincere concern. What you ARE, far more than what you say or do, will be the witness of your faith.

~ from GROWTH INTO BEING by Margaret Holmes
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Gentle me,
Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go
of heavy expectancies,
of shriveling anxieties,
of dead certainties,
that, softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery.
I may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy
that is You.

~ from GUERRILLAS OF GRACE by Ted Loder with thanks to Marjorie Michael
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God ... secretly and quietly ... inserts in the soul loving wisdom and knowledge.

~ from THE LIVING FLAME OF LOVE by St. John of the Cross
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Contemplation is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware, that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant source. Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that source.

~ from NEW SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION by Thomas Merton
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Eternal life is a gift of God. It is through God's love that we have eternal life, through the great love that God has for creation. And through love, all individuals have the freedom to choose whether to seek or to separate themselves from love ... Do not look to another for your connection to God. This is available to you through your mind and heart. In the silence, you will be able to hear with your mind love's voice guide you; with your heart you will feel God's great love. It is the responsibility of each individual to seek their own connection to God ... When you find that you are truly connected to God from within, then you will eliminate fear, hostility and such. Not by power or might, but by the Word of God, by taking into your life the love of God and the word of God. By accepting the goodness of God, you move toward wholeness and holiness.

~ from MARY'S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD by Annie Kirkwood
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A quiet settles on the hills
Augmented by the birds,
Everything is softer --
A time for fewer words.

A time best spent listening
To the voices of the land,
How softly winter guides us
With her wondrous hand.

~ Peter Rinehart
Peter Rinehart contemplation

May happiness, like the beauty of nature surround you in the coming year.

~ Unknown
Unknown contemplation

December 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 11)

BLESSINGS to all Friends of Silence this holyday season! ... a time for re-connecting to the Child within that leads us to our gifts ... our creativity ... our inner being where innocence, compassion and spontaneity dwell.

Children do not yet "know" enough to resist the force that governs and guides them from one goodness to the next. They haven't yet been fooled by their senses into practicing the impractical practice of trying to run their own lives and prove themselves in relation to others. So they show us what the scriptures teach -- that there is something we can trust. Our superficial perspective fools us all into seeking security by hanging on to certain interpersonal conditions and experiences in what is, after all, an exploding universe of divine self-revelation. This places us in opposition to the current of life and prevents us from increasingly seeing and expressing the unfolding good of God. Yet in the silence, we too can learn to go with and be carried along by the flow -- from one liberating revelation of the great eternal One to the next.

~ from COMING TO LIFE: TRAVELING THE SPIRITUAL PATH IN EVERYDAY LIFE by Polly Berends with thanks to Gay Grissom
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The great solitaries always surprise us by their acute understanding of life. Prayer of positive, creative quality needs a background of silence, we need not hope to know the power of prayer

~ E. Herman
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How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
The wonders of Love's heaven.

~ Unknown
Unknown child

In the center of the city, I am that child that screams in the tenement, the infant that cries in the night holding out its arms to be comforted. I am the young man and woman searching for their way. I am the weary, the wounded, the cold and hungry asking, "why?" ... the old and all who know pain and are acquainted with grief. The loved, the unloved, the abandoned, the lonely and the homeless ... I am all who thirst for the Way. I am child of God, of the Mysterious One, the Immutable, and a child of timeless time. I have no color and speak no language ... and yet, pushed down, way down to the bottom of the Cave to touch the Divine Flame, I become part of everyone and everyone is part of me. The way below and the way above is lit with the golden match of love. Thanks be to the name that cannot be named.

~ Unknown
Unknown child

... written by Arpie Shelton after being in a coma. She wrote: "I could see as if for the very first time ever."

~ Arpie was a long-time Friend of Silence and went on to new Life in May
Arpie child

I sought of old the womb of a woman so that I might become a human being. Now I seek a soul by means of which I can bring my love to all people. I will take your poverty and I will fill it to the limit. Believe. Love. Trust. Let yourself be carried by my waves, by my winds. You will find me again in your soul, simple and humble, a Child.

~ Catherine Doherty
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The divine life enkindled in the soul is the Light that has come into the darkness; it is the miracle of the holy night.

~ Edith Stein
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The new or divine begetting is just as real as the first begetting in the mother's womb. The child of God is forever being born.

~ from AGAPE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Ceslaus Spieg
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I am your reed, sweet shepherd, glad to be.
Now, if you will, breathe out your joy in me
And make bright song.
Or fill me with the soft moan of your love
When your delight has failed to call or move
The flock from wrong.

Make children's songs, or any songs, to fill
Your reed with breath of life;
But at your will, lay down the flute,
And take repose, while music infinite
Is silence in your heart; and laid on it
Your reed is mute.

~ "The Reed of God" by Caryll Houselander
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When you reach the state of contemplation, live contemplation, you are finally at peace, like a child on its mother's breast: "My soul is tranquil and quiet like a child in its mother's arms." (Psalm 131:2)

Magnetized by God's love, the rocket of your soul, like an astronaut's space-craft, has broken the sound-barrier (no longer needs a lot of words to explain itself), snapped the thread of gravity which held it down to itself (No longer needs meditation) and gone into orbit like a tiny planet around God's sun.

The first proof that you have gone into orbit round God is that you no longer feel that you are the centre of the universe -- which is the real nature of sin -- but feel and vividly understand that God is the centre of everything. This might seem easy, but ... how much effort goes into reaching this understanding!

Now at last God bears you, leads you by "ways which are not our ways", draws you into the whirlpool of charity, prepares you for an ever deeper union with the Beloved, for that eternal possession of love which is the goal of our human-divine destiny.

The soul in orbit round God begins to realize that there is another stability than the kind known and experienced on earth, another fullness, another dimension. Above all, another "peace”.

~ from LOVE IS FOR LIVING by Carlo Carretto
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Peace: Where peiace setls, Love coms.

~ Rachel, age 7
Rachel child

Glory to the silence, which spoke by this child.

~ St. Ephrem
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November 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 10)

BLESSINGS of peace, joy and gratitude be with you! How do we return to the Giver of Life the abundance of blessing we receive? Only in the Silence, where the Beloved abides, will the deep response be given. And so, we give thanks as we befriend the Silence, that out of the Silence the words we speak will reveal the Word.

Old traditions used to say that wisdom consists in the knowledge of the Word. Give us this wisdom to be able to listen, to accept, to receive, to practice the hospitality of the words, paying attention, reacting consequently, being struck, touched, or caressed by the words that come to us. And let us also learn, in turn, to speak the right words, to affirm people who speak in a life-giving way, to recreate ourselves with our own words, because each of them sprouts from the same dynamism from which the plants grow, life unfolds, the universe comes into being. The word is word when it has a speaker, when it speaks about something; the word is word when it speaks with something. Give us, O Creator of Life, this depth, this awareness, and this tremendous joy to discover in ourselves that creative power that we can speak, emit, and receive living words, words of eternal life, words that come of the peace, of the silence, of the transparency of everything. And then we may be able, more and more, to understand the language of many other speaking beings that may not articulate as we do.

~ from BLESSED SIMPLICITY by Raimundo Panikkar
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Love: a basket of bread from which to eat for years to come; good loaves, fragrant and warm, miraculously multiplied: the basked never empty, the bread never stale.

~ Unknown
Unknown silence

At first, even one minute spent in unaccustomed prayer will seem as endless as an empty silence or a blank stillness; but these periods of quiet can be lengthened profitably, and these times of silent stillness can become alive, eventually becoming the most rewarding experiences of the day, as one discovers how much God has to say to those who will listen. "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." A person who does not understand another's silences will not understand their words either.

~ from INSPIRATION FOR LIVING by Paul S. McElroy
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Many of us would say that God knows all and sees all. Yet few of us act consistently with this apparent belief. It does not take particularly long, nor is it difficult to acquire the habit of stilling the mind and recognizing that the Presence of God is ever present to us. The initial effort requires a great spiritual struggle, but soon this habit of mind can be cultivated, developed. Then God takes over. It is as if God has seen that we are sincere in our efforts to live continually in the divine presence, and so when we have the human tendency to lapse, God assists us. But God does not initiate the attitude in us. We are allowed our freedom here, as in all other things. But when we choose the spiritual path of centering in the silence and of trying to be aware of God's divine presence in us at all times, ceaselessly, then we will receive the assistance that we need. We can imagine the tremendous, the significant effect such an ongoing experience will have on our lives. Working toward this end can lead to "ordinary" life lived on a heroic and life-giving level.

~ from ENCOUNTERING MYSELF by Harry James Cargas
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Wisdom and compassion must walk together. Having wisdom without compassion is like walking with one foot. You will fall down. If you have both wisdom and compassion, you can walk very well, step by step.

~ Step by Step: Meditations on Wisdom and Compassion by Maga Ghosananda
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On this bright still silent November day, we walk through bare thickets toward the lake like a silver mirror; so calm, so glassy, it holds on its wide surface all the patterns of light and air above. Its silence silences us. Its stillness stops us in our tracks. As I bend to touch a stone, I hear a voice say, "Love the earth". I cock my ear and hear the echo, faint yet unmistakable as ocean sounding in a shell. When I try to summon it once more, only my words come. A great and terrible tenderness breaks over me. Each pebble, each shell, is filled with beauty; each, in this moment, articulate, a word spoken, and I imagine beyond the grasp of hearing the great murmuring of creation beneath my feet. I feel these patient stones lie like an eternal sacrifice, offering me the ground of their existence on which to grind and crunch the pathways of my life ... I haven't begun to love the earth. Does it take the awareness of our death to wake us up to life?

~ from A SLICE OF LIFE by Lee Sturgeon-Day
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You can visualize God's light each day and send it to someone who needs help. Your divine nature can reach out and touch the divine nature of another. Within you is the light of the world, it is to be shared with the world. One way of prayer is to visualize a golden light within you and spread it out, first to those about you and then gradually to the world. Keep on visualizing God's golden light surrounding the earth. If you have a problem, take the matter to God in Silence, visualize it in God's hand. Then leave it, knowing it is in the best possible hands, and turn your attention to other things. Carry with you a constant prayer of gratitude. This will add your love and peace to the world.

~ from PEACE PILGRIM by Peace Pilgrim
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Give me work to do;
Give me health;
Give me joy in simple things.
Give me an eye for beauty,
A tongue for truth,
A heart that love,
A mind that reasons,
A sympathy that understands;
Give me neither malice nor envy,
But a true kindness
And a noble common sense.
At the close of each day
Give me a book,
And a friend with whom
I can be silent.

~ Unknown
Unknown silence

All people carry in them thoughts that have the power to bring them instant peace.

~ Anthony de Mello
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October 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 9)

BLESSINGS and Peace be with you!

One night last autumn I was strangely drawn to the beauty of a moonlit night; there was a strong urge to become part of the night and its beauty. After finishing my kitchen work, I went outside for a walk in the woods with my little puppy. The powerful beauty of the night stirred in my soul. The large silvery moon cast an eerie glow on my world, darkly engraving towering spruce trees against the lighter spaces between earth and its heavens. As the puppy trotted obediently and silently beside me, our shadowy figures against the ground were as daguerreotypes of days past. Almost without provocation, except by the incredibly soft beauty of the night, I felt the desire to meditate. I sat down on a grassy spot and my puppy sat by my side.

Entrance into meditation was easy and natural, taking me into a quietness of no-thinking and timelessness. When meditation was finished, I slowly opened my eyes to find my little dog sitting directly in front of me, watching me with ears erect. The moon, no longer among the spruce trees, had moved into larger spaces diminishing the contrasting blackness of the ethereal forest and the heavens. I found that I was covered with a heavy layer of shimmering dew. I don't know how long I had been meditating, but it was unimportant. I remained sitting on the dewy grass as a flow of nature swept through me. The moon, the shadows, the dew, my dog, and I were one in the silence of the moonlight night. I was aware of the omniscient feeling of detachment, a detachment from knowing the world through myself. I was one with the flow of the universe.

~ from A MEDITATOR'S DIARY by Jane Hamilton-Merritt
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God is breathing through us in ways we have yet to discover.
~ Unknown
Unknown surrender

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

~ Wendell Berry
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An insight made available to us by the hermit's life is that we are all, each one of us, a hermit; that in the end we know we are a unique creation of God, and alone because of that uniqueness, and that this alone-ness become solitude is the meeting place with God. This is true no matter how social and communal our exterior lives may be. It is within our interior solitude, the solitude and silence that many of us (including hermits) try to shut out with noise and activity of various sorts in order to evade that encounter, that we are called into truth and confrontation with mercy, that we are given what it is we have to give in our encounters with other people who in their own lives are engaged in the same searching.

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Green water in the creek is clear
Moonlight on Cold Mountain is white
Silently knowing, the spirit is enlightened of itself
Contemplate emptiness, and the world grows more still.

~ Unknown
Unknown surrender

A disciple suddenly discovered the richness of fecundity of emptiness -- the realization that everything is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and empty of self. In this mood of divine emptiness, he sat in joy under a tree, when suddenly flowers began to fall all around him.

And the angels whispered, "But I haven't uttered a word about emptiness."

"True," the angels replied. "You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard of emptiness. This is true emptiness." And the showers of blossoms continued to fall.

~ from TAKING FLIGHT by Anthony de Mello
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Music needs the hollowness of the flute;
Letters, the blankness of the page;
Light, the void called a window;
Holiness, the absence of the self.

~ from TAKING FLIGHT by Anthony de Mello
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To be empty is to practice letting go of the fears that possess us and to be more attached to the substance of life, the love in the silence. To be empty is to be available for the riches of the hidden harmony instead of the substitutions our fears would have us settle for. With emptiness as a friend we are brought to a new fullness of quiet, a fullness that comes from our commitment to a life in the silence. We make more room for emptiness as we value the wonder, the grand heights, and quiet recesses of silence. We find more emptiness as we commit ourselves to the mysteries worth beholding, to the inner life that has more space and appreciation to expand in our emptiness.

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Life is to live and life is to give and talents are
to use for good if you choose.
Do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks --
then the doing of your work shall be no
miracle but you shall be a miracle.
Every day you shall wonder at yourself ...
at the richness of life which has come
to you by the grace of God. But everyone
needs someone -- knowing that
somewhere someone is thinking of you.

~ Fr. Solanus Casey, Capuchin
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September 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 8)

AUTUMN GREETINGS! How quickly the seasons pass ... seasons of nature, seasons of life. 'Tis good to remember that in eternal time there is only Love, Peace, and Unity.

The Heart of Understanding gives us solid ground for making peace with ourselves, for transcending the fear of birth and death, the duality of this and that. In the light of emptiness, everything is everything else, we inter-are, everyone is responsible for everything that happens in life. When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world. With the smile that you produce in yourself, with the conscious breathing you establish within yourself, you begin to work for peace in the world. To smile is not to smile only for yourself; the world will change because of your smile. When you sit in the silence, if you enjoy even one moment of sitting, if you establish serenity and happiness inside yourself, you provide the world with a solid base of peace. If you do not give yourself peace, how can you share it with others? If you do not begin your peace work with yourself, where will you go to begin it? To sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them, these are the basis of peace work, love and unity.

~ from THE HEART OF UNDERSTANDING by Thich Nhat Hanh
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I find that a life of little whispered words of adoration, of praise, of prayer, of worship can be breathed all through the day. One can have a very busy day, outwardly speaking, and yet be steadily in the holy Presence ... It is a life unspeakable and full of glory, an inner world of splendor within which we may live.

~ Thomas Kelly
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The stilling of the intellect in the presence of the Divine leads to "the abstract God", "the God of awareness", or "the God of unknowing", which are all words to express the inexpressible. This silence of the mind is the supreme adoration before God; and the finding of Divine Love in the constant personal awareness of the world created around us and within us is the anonymous prayer which in the secret liturgy of the universe unites us to the source of all being with every breath we take and every word we utter in our daily surrender to life.

~ from MASTERING SADHANA by Carlos Valles
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Be bent, and you will remain straight.
Be vacant, and you will remain full.
Be worn, and you will remain new.

~ Tao-Te King
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Real knowledge comes from the unitive experience of God; the world's great saints and mystics have been given the key to that knowledge, and it is in turn their burden as well as their privilege to impart it to others. Once we 'set our minds on God's realm and God's justice before everything else, all the rest will come to us as well.' (Matthew 6:33) We begin to grasp the truth, that contemplative prayer -- that deep, inner loving look at God in silence -- is the way of the path, not acquisitive knowledge. And as we proceed, such amazing understanding of the fabric of the universe will be declared to us that we will scarcely be able to contain ourselves for joy that the creation is as it is. Once we are ready, God does not withhold anything from our grasp. And the measure of our readiness to receive real knowledge is our capacity to flow out in love to our neighbor.

~ from THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE by Martin Israel
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The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God knowing that that goodness can reach right down to our lowest depths of need.

~ Julian of Norwich
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The pure sound
of the bell
summons us into
the present moment.
The timeless ring of
truth is expressed in
many different voices,
each one magnifying
and illuminating
the sacred.
The clarity of its song
resonates within us
and calls us away
from those things
which often distract us --
that which was,
that which might be --
to that which is.

~ Bell Tower
Bell Tower truth

Prayer doesn't place us in the presence of God; rather it is a time when we are especially attentive to the presence of God which is there all the time ... The voice of God is a still, small voice on the breath of a gentle breeze, but because so much of our life is spent in the noisy haste of activity, we fail to recognize the most profoundly beautiful experience in all of creation -- the presence of God that permeates everything. We need to be still, silent and listen ...

~ from "Monos" by Patrick Eastman
Patrick Eastman Monos truth

In the waiting hour of twilight, my grandfather taught me about silence. We fished in a small rowboat on the lake until after the moon rose glistening in the water. He explained the rules of fishing, "Bait your own hook, sit still, and don't talk or you will disturb the fish." Each trip was the same. We left behind the cottage and, as we detached ourselves farther and farther from shore a new peace came to us. One time his voice entered the silence saying, "If you listen really hard, God will tell you stories." I listened, and he was right. My mind envisioned new and exciting "somedays" and I came close to tears in the face of the starry night's beauty.

~ Jane Wolford Hughes
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I weave a silence on my lips
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations

Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm
Still me O Lord, keep me from harm
Let all tumult within me cease
Enfold me Lord in your peace.

~ from CRY OF THE DEER by David Adam
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To become divine is to become attuned to the whole of creation.

~ Gandhi
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July-August 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 7)

GREETINGS! The summertimes of our lives are times to rest and appreciate who we are, to relax and enjoy, to celebrate the extravagance and exuberance of creation, to remember to pause, to let the joy and wonder of becoming like a child again well up within us. Summer re-creation offers times to be free to be nothing, to be present in grateful receptivity, wordless awe, silent simplicity ... times to dip into the well of contemplation.

Contemplation consists essentially in the affective knowledge that is the fruit of the gift of wisdom. Contemplation attains God in a different way from faith, which is a more objective type of knowledge. Affective knowledge is rooted in love and blossoms into love. Love takes the place of the concept; love is its light. In this act of affective knowledge, we touch God, so to speak, and are conformed to God.

The act of love plunges us into God, who is given in silence. Anything else would run the risk of detracting from the gift. This act of love or affective knowledge frees us from ourselves. And, in this love, God is revealed in a silence that strips us and makes us experience that "blessed are the poor". Silence preserves us from illusion and gives us a security.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE by Thomas Philippe
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My whole spiritual life consists more and more in abandoning myself (actively) to the presence and action of God. To be in communion with Becoming has become the formula of my whole life.

~ P. Teilhard de Chardin
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We are -- all of us -- contemplatives in the root and ground of our being. For at the root of our being, we are one with God, one with one another, one with the world in which we live. Spending time in prayer is not a means of achieving oneness, but of recognizing that it is there. Prayer does not make us contemplatives; rather it can make us aware that we truly are contemplatives, but at a level of perception we do not often achieve. Prayer, silence and solitude are moments of grace that can awaken us to the contemplative side of our being.

~ from SILENCE ON FIRE by William H. Shannon
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Insight and fresh vision inevitably depend on our ability to free ourselves from the prejudices and stereotypes that we have inherited, along with everyone else. Merton believed that silence and solitude could play a crucial role in this respect. For example, once, in the middle of the shopping district, he had what for want of better words we must call a mystical experience. There "at the corner of Fourth and Walnut" he was "suddenly overwhelmed with realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness." In that ordinary, everyday, unremarkable setting he suddenly saw and felt God's love for each person, and the deep solidarity that exists between each member of the human race despite their illusions of separateness. It was a unity with each other that, if only they themselves could see it, would banish war, hatred, cruelty and greed. Reflecting on the experience afterwards, Merton linked it with his solitude and silence, feeling that these had made it possible for him to have this experience.

~ from THE SPARK IN THE SOUL by Terry Tastard
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Lord, am I such a pain in the neck? I see you everywhere, yet turn from your presence in the faces of my wife and children. I look for your face everywhere and then spit in your face -- in the faces of those you give me to love ... and in whom you offered your love for me again and again in a million imperfect ways every day. I turn from them if they aren't just so -- just perfect. Nevertheless, your quiet is finally growing in me ... I want to calm my restless feelings, Lord, and look deeply into the faces of my family and see you face to face as we talk during our meal.

To see the face of God in those you love and live with takes consistent commitment and concentration. It is the same contemplative act that one experiences in the stillness and silence of solitary prayer and adoration. It takes simultaneous attention to the "without" and the "within", to self and to other. It is a paradox, a simultaneous joining while remaining solitary and separate. It resembles the act of physical touching and loving. It is separate togetherness and oneness experienced separately at the instant it is shared.

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Breakthroughs to a new state of being are often preceded by a state of turbulence in which there seems to be a lack of order, as in water that boils before it reaches another state of being as steam. The world is now going through great changes. It is possible that life has no meaning or purpose. Yet there is also another viewpoint: that through our increased awareness and closeness we are coming into another state of being. Such awareness can move us to be more fully human than ever before in history, because it is ultimately awareness, not denial, that creates greater humanness. Teilhard sees the purpose of God as moving us toward the next stage of evolution, moving us toward a new, deeper worldwide interconnection of human beings.

~ from THE SERENITY PRAYER BOOK by William V. Pietsch
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O Silent Meeting, starting with a sigh
Of helpless awaiting for God's Presence there,
Each one alone, together sit, and I
Of my own breathing in and out aware.
The breath of God doth move within my heart
As surely in, and out, as that of me.
The Seed there needs to breathe if it's to start
To grow, to act within my life, to be
As breathing can't in life be hurried much,
So, too, the Seed will take its breathing space.
And, giving over will, desire, and such
I wait, expectant, bound to time and place.
Our mingled breathings fertilize the Seed,
And help us grow from Inward Light to deed.

~ Isaac Penington
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At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is.
~ T.S. Eliot
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June 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 6)

Warmest GREETINGS as we move into a new season. May each one of us take time to walk down the path that leads to the sacred Silence. And as we learn to treasure our inner awareness, may we come to know the immense love, the intense light, within the vastness of our own soul.

As we become sensitive to our soul's experience, we find the smallest moments, the slightest breezes, can move so much inside us in the stillness. Life's brief encounters with intimacy have more importance. With the subtle qualities we find in our inner life, the silence leads us. The pure presence always begins inside. From our soul's quiet recesses we are taken to caverns and gardens and skies above mansions of silence. Our interior life is full of the ways of the soul. Our dreams, feelings, intuition, and thoughts are just the beginnings of the vast language of our soul in the silence. In our meditations and prayers we hear the small whispers, the perfect presence speak to us, seeking our awareness and appreciation. To value our inner life is to open the doors for the galaxies of stars in the silence to be discovered. These stars turn out to be not so far away but right next to our soul and in the midst of the hearts of those around us.

~ from MONASTERY WITHOUT WALLS by Bruce Davis with thanks to Mary Lou Evans
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Let us be still; trustingly still; not only calm and quiet on the surface, but still from the center of our being, out, out, out ...
~ Anonymous
Anonymous attention

O Great Spirit, whose breath gives light to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze: We need Your strength and wisdom. Cause us to walk in beauty. Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset. Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us. Help us to learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes, so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen.

~ traditional Native American Prayer with thanks to Liz Simons
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No escape from paradox: Wisdom manifests itself, and is yet hidden. The more it hides, the more it is manifest; and the more it is manifest, the more it is hidden. For God is known when apprehended as unknown, and is heard when we realize that we do not know the sounds of God's voice. The words uttered are words of full silence, and they are bait to draw us into silence. The truths manifested are full of hiddenness, and their function is to hide us, with themselves, in God from whom they proceed. If we hide the precepts of wisdom in our heart -- precepts of humility, meekness, charity, renunciation, faith, prayer -- they themselves will hide us in God. For the values which they give to us, are completely hidden from our eyes. They bring us to the source of a life that is unknown to the natural wisdom of the world, and yet from this source of nature itself proceeds, is nourished, and is sustained.

~ from SEASONS OF CELEBRATION by Thomas Merton
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All persons are both artist and mystic because all are called to be in touch with the true self, the deep experience that is theirs, and to utter images from that silent space.

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The act of love plunges us into God, who is given in silence. Anything else would run the risk of detracting from the gift. "Silence is the speech of God", according to St. John of the Cross. This act of love frees us from ourselves. In this love, God is revealed in a silence that strips us and makes us experience that "blessed are the poor". Silence preserves us from illusion and gives us security ... The grace of contemplation places the soul in a kind of immobility and silence, which we cannot do of ourselves. God does all this by way of love, which involves a death of the mind and a resurrection of the heart.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE by Thomas Philippe
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A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
Loss of interest in judging self and in judging other people.
Loss of interest in conflict, and in interpreting actions of others.
Loss of ability to worry. Frequent episodes of appreciation.
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.
Increasing susceptibility to love ~ and the urge to expand it.
Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

If you have the above symptoms, your condition of peace may be so far advanced as to not be treatable.

~ Sue Tunney
Sue Tunney attention

Do not move
in order to touch me,
for I am stillness itself.

Do not be drawn
in many directions
in order to take hold of me;
I am unity itself.

Stop the movement,
unify diversity,
and you will surely reach me,
who long ago reached you.

~ Anonymous, with thanks to Abby Seixas
Anonymous attention

Let us then, labour for an inward stillness,
An 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
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do his will, and do that only.

~ Longfellow with thanks to Gladys Cloonan
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In the stillness, we are receiving the fullness of life.
~ Anonymous
Anonymous attention

May 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 5)

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

We have a destination: the heart of God. Though we have come a long way from our true home, we can still return if we give ear to our spiritual instincts, our inner heritage as a spiritual being. To do this, we must listen for the heavenly music, the Voice of God, which is constant, changeless, and unerring. Have you ever gazed in awe as a flock of migrating geese cuts through the sky? Did you look up with a strange longing welling up in you, a lonely restlessness which you cannot name? If so, you have felt the call to Soul ... you have heard the Voice of God."

~ from ON THE BREATH OF THE GODS by Ariel Tomioka with thanks to Angie Sherrard
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I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

~ from SABBATHS by Wendell Berry
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After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

~ Aldous Huxley
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If only I listened to my own rhythm, and tried to live in accordance with it. Much of what I do is mere imitation, springs from a sense of duty or from pre-conceived notions of how people should behave. The only certainties about what is right and wrong are those which spring from sources deep inside oneself. And I say it humbly and gratefully and I mean every word of it right now, though I know I shall again grow rebellious and irritable. 'Oh God, I thank you for the sense of fulfillment I sometimes have, that fulfillment is after all nothing but being filled with you. I promise yet to strive my whole life long for beauty and harmony and also humility and true love, whispers of which I hear inside me during my best moments.'

~ from AN INTERRUPTED LIFE by Etty Hillesum
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Silence is the highest form of music ... Music of the infinity, referred to as the music of the spheres, is often heard in deep solitude or reflected in natural sounds -- the wind, the ocean, the melody of birds. The single note of a temple gong is far more powerful than an orchestra of one hundred instruments. The clear sound it produces reverberates deep within our mind and body, conveying a sense of infinite peace and bringing us close to the melodious silence of infinity.

~ from DIET FOR A STRONG HEART by Michio Kushi
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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.

~ Minnie Aumonier
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Since I am coming to that holy room,
Where, with your quire of Saints
for evermore, I shall be made you
Music; As I come, I tune the
instrument here at the door.
And what I must do then, think
here before.

~ "Hymn to God in my sickness" by John Donne
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No voice;
but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

~ Coleridge
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Music ingathers all, yet takes one only
into its secret when the chimes begin.
When that great rain of sound comes down,
the lonely of spirit is elect and enters in.
One evening shines with bells; alone, apart we listen, awed,
to the antiphonal pealing of our hearts.

Music by right is for the solitaries
whom a long silence trains to the profound.
The bells are ours; we come at the first airy
rumor to drench our deserts with their sound.
Yet anyone who listens may become
hermit or anchorite under the shower
when the great chimes -- tree shakes its leaves of light.

~ "The Evening Chimes" from Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers
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I experienced in myself a curious phenomenon: I was listening with the heart. And if I just listened, through the heart, just listened, and no thinking was involved in it, then the heart sang with the violins, it was the trumpet call, it was the woodwinds, and I was the music.

~ from DAUGHTER OF FIRE by Irina Tweedie
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... there is music even in the beauty,
and the silent note which Cupid strikes,
far sweeter than the sound of an instrument.
For there is music wherever there is a
harmony, order, or proportion: and thus far,
we may maintain the music of the spheres.

~ from RELIGIO MEDICI by T. E. Brown
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The one who understands my music can never know unhappiness again.

~ Beethoven
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Prayer gives the silence, which is the very clear song that is simple, full of devotion, full of itself, in nature, in everyone. The notes of the silence lift every bird and are perfect for every heart, one note at a time.

~ Anonymous
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April 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 4)

GREETINGS! The long winter is over ... signs of nature's yearly renewal are seen all over the land ... earth giving birth to new life, new hope. May each one of us participate with awe and reverence, taking time to recognize a springtime renewal of our souls.

Outer silence, the deep true silence of nature and prayer, calls forth the silence hidden within one's inner being. For to be other than silent in the stillness of the forest or the chapel seems inappropriate and irreverent. In silence, the rare times I attain true inner silence, I recognize my inner self, and I am also aware of God's presence in me as well as a loving, merciful gaze upon me. It is in the mutual gazing upon the infinite and the infinite upon me that I find peace. Oh, why then, silence, are you so hard to attain when you bring so much joy? Why do I so often avoid you? Because the silence is where God is to be found? You have such gifts to give. While our inner being is often noisy, filled with less than productive chattering of the mind, you are always waiting for us to accept you presence in us. To be still, to be silent brings its own gifts. The reward is in the stillness, in the silence, in the sitting.

~ from "Silence in the Forest, Silence in Me" by Shirely J. Daney in Monos Newsletter
Shirely J. Daney Monos Newsletter nature

Today when I receive communion, I am reminded of our dark roots within the earth. I know my energy flows in two directions: the Spirit lifts me up, yet my bond with all creation pulls me down into the depths of life. This moment of tension -- when we are suspended between the heavens and natural world -- is the heart of every liturgy.

~ from A PASSION FOR THIS EARTH by Valerie Andrews
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Spirit that hears each one of us,
Hears all that is --
Listens, listens, hear us out --
Inspire us now!
Our own pulse beats in every stranger's throat,
And also there within the flowered ground beneath our feet,
And -- teach us to listen! --
We can hear it in water, in wood, and even in stone.
We are earth of this earth, and we are bone of its bone.
This is a prayer I sing, for we have forgotten this,
And so,
The earth is perishing.

~ from "Thinking Like a Mountain" by Barbara Deming with thanks to Patricia Dorsey
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To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
O heart within my heart,
in you I place my trust.
Let me not feel unworthy;
let not fear rule over me.
Yes! let all who open their hearts
savor You and bless the earth!
~ Anonymous
Anonymous nature

A long and loving look at the universe we inhabit can actually change us. We can become different persons.

Prayer with nature is a passionate listening to the beating heart of the world. It is appreciation. And it is always praise.

Let us plant dates, even though those who plant them will never eat them ... We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.

~ from TOMORROW'S CHILD by Rubem Alves with thanks to Tina Beneman
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EARTH teach me stillness
As the grasses are stilled with light.
EARTH teach me suffering
As old stones suffer with memory.
EARTH teach me humility
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
EARTH teach me caring
As the mother who secures her young.

EARTH teach me courage
As the tree which stands all alone.
EARTH teach me limitation
As the ant who crawls on the ground.
EARTH teach me freedom
As the eagle who soars in the sky.
EARTH teach me resignation
As the leaves which die in the fall.

EARTH teach me regeneration
As the seed which rises in spring.
EARTH teach me to forget myself
As melted snow forgets its life.
EARTH teach me to remember kindness
As dry fields weep with rain.

~ from the poetry of the Ute Native American Indians with thanks to Pat Drypolcher
Ute Native American Indians nature

Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment.

~ Henri Nouwen
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I reach out my hand to God that He may carry me along as a feather is borne weightlessly by the wind...

~ Hildegard of Bingen
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March 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 3)

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

PEACE be with you ... PEACE be among the nations! During this Lenten season, may the wind of the Spirit that drove Jesus into the desert, into the furnace of prayer, also drive us with a passion to enkindle the fire of our devotion in the desert of Lenten love.

~ paraphrased from "Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim" by Edward Hays
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Once I enter wilderness, I am more honest with myself. The lure is less what I can tally or photograph than what I can sense: the quiet, intangible qualities of desert, mountain and forest. Wilderness has been characterized as barren and unproductive; little can be grown in its sand and rock. But the crops of the wilderness have always been its spiritual values -- silence and solitude, a sense of awe and gratitude -- able to be harvested by any traveler who visits. Prayers in the wilderness were like streams in the desert for me -- something unanticipated and unchronicled welling up, and because of that surprise, appreciated all the more. Not until I actually left the wilderness was I conscious what had been the extent of my thirst.

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No one can know the ultimate mystery. We never will. But we can invest our lives with courage, dignity, sympathy, understanding, in such a way as to take the utterly crazy things that happen and transform them into a joyful and creative illumination. I am in search of the creativity that is at the center of human-beingness. I cannot know where this lies until I get there, but I have faith it is there where one aspect of God is. All of this implies my dealing with the opposite of what I am used to, a passive and quiet listening to what life says. To learn how to be.

~from AND A TIME TO DIE by Mark Pelgrin
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For me, the question is whether my encounter with death has freed me enough from the addictions of the world that I can be true to my vocation as I now see it "sent" from above. It clearly involves a call to prayer, contemplation, silence, solitude, and inner detachment. I have to keep choosing my "not belonging" in order to belong, my not being from below in order to be from above. For, the taste of God's unconditional love quickly disappears when the addictive powers of everyday existence make their presence felt again.

Henri J. M. Nouwen Beyond The Mirror peace Buy on Amazon

Many of us live under the illusion that if we are not for good or for evil we can exist in some moral limbo. The reality is that if we do not choose to be given for the purposes of God, then we are available to be used for the purposes of evil. To be unconscious is to leave oneself open to being manipulated; to be awake and weeping is to be in touch with reality and available to be poured-out-through by the love of God.

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Let us then labor for an inward stillness,
An 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!

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with thanks to Pat Prescott
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Returning to the source of one's being is rarely an experience that can be expressed in words. Kabir says, 'Those who have had a taste of this love are so enchanted that they are stricken with silence.' Have you ever been 'stricken with silence'? If so, you have tasted the ineffable; you have had a mystical experience. Silence is too often defined as 'the absence of something' when it is much more than that. Silence is also a search for something, a search for the depths, for the source ... Silence moves people. Being, one my say, is silent. We must embrace silence in order to express being. Then -- and only then -- does it speak deep truths to us ...

Matthew Fox Coming Of The Cosmic Christ peace Buy on Amazon

The all-important aim in meditation is to allow God's mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality, but the reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, to everything we are.

~ from WORDS INTO SILENCE by John Main
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In prayerful solitude I find not only God and myself but the world and all in it, not as it sees itself but as it stands in reality.

~ Robert Farley
Robert Farley peace
I weave a silence on to my
lips...my mind...my heart.

Calm me, O Lord,
as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord,
keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult
within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord,
in your peace
~ Anonymous
Anonymous peace