silence

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. Many of the mystical awakenings experienced by astronauts and cosmonauts in space have been triggered by the cosmic silence they have encountered there. Similar things happen to persons swimming in the depths of the sea or spelunking in the caves of Mother Earth. Silence moves people. That is why it is so essential to meditation practices, including the art of listening to our images. Being, one might say, is silent. We must embrace silence in order to experience being. Then -- and only then -- does it speak deep truths to us. As Rilke says: "Being-silent. Who keeps innerly silent, touches the roots of speech."

~ from THE COMING OF THE COSMIC CHRIST by Matthew Fox

No flies come into a closed mouth

Native American Indians value silence and recommend it in stories and pointed sayings ... "Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf" ... "No flies come into a closed mouth" ... and a clause in an Indian prayer, "Oh my Grandfather, may I lose no good opportunity to hold my tongue." They feel comfortable in silence, and are often irritated, or at best amused, by our "windmill machine" of constant chatter. Silence, "going behind the blanket," removing oneself from useless or annoying contact are highly developed techniques, second nature to the Indian way.

~ from SNOWY EARTH COMES GLIDING by Evelyn Eaton

Secret Place

Granma said all Cherokees had a secret place. She told me she had one and Granpa had one. She said she reckined most everybody had a secret place, but she couldn't be certain, as she had never made inquiries of it. Granma said it was necessary. Which made me feel right good about having one ... Granma said everybody has two minds. One of the minds has to do with the necessaries for body living. She said we had to have that mind so as we could carry on. But she said we had another mind that had nothing atall to do with such. She said it was the spirit mind. Granma said if you used the body-living mind to think greedy or mean; if you was always cuttin' at folks with it and figuring how to material profit off'n them ... then you would shrink up your spirit mind to a size no bigger'n a hickor'nut.

~ from THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE by Forrest Carter

Silence is its own reward

Silence is its own reward: we do not look for any "sign" of God's presence, but as we grow in faith, we become increasingly aware of the wordless dialogue proceeding deep within us. This is the silent conversation with God that warms the heart and mobilizes the powers of the mind and spirit which we are all endowed, but which largely remain in abeyance in everyday life, until we are enabled to strike a deeper note of awareness. In other words, the effect of God's grace shows itself as we give of ourselves by what we are given, but, far from dwelling on it, we stride forward in resolution to give what we have to those around us ... There can be no effective journey on the path to the pearl of great price, until we are so inwardly posed that our attention and resolution remain in control even when the world is collapsing around us. For, real prayer -- the still point of our inner being -- never ceases ...

~ from THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE by Martin Israel

The call of holiness is a call into the cloud of unknowing

The call of holiness is a call into the cloud of unknowing. The call to be holy is a call into the inner-most depths, to the inward center -- the stillpoint. Holiness calls us to be humble before God ... There is a saint, a holiness in each of us and the greatest journey is to discover that saint, that holiness within ... The prophet, the holy person, is the one who experiences within him or herself a presence that is so rich and meaningful that they are compelled to share it with others. The holy person, who receives the gift of him or herself, becomes almost intoxicated with the truth that everyone carries that hidden mystery ... The call of our day is to a higher consciousness, to respond to the work of God's love in us, not only in prayer, but in the kind of presence that we offer to our world and to our time, to the second creation that is always going on in us ...

~ from FREE TO BE NOTHING by Edward J. Farrell

Silent One

May each one you meet along life's path feel through you a great inner stillness and reserve, a great strength. Then when you speak, your words will carry power to those who hear. Allow the words you speak to well up from your inner being and see how little your physical self is drained. In using only necessary words and words of truth, you are known as a "Silent One." Love will flow through you from that silence and others will go forth full of the love you have given to them.

~ from IN HIS PRESENCE by Eva Bell Werber

As I sit in silence

More and more people are discovering that one of Jesus' greatest gifts is the sharing of his life with us through the bread and wine of each day ... and, one of the greatest gifts that we can give to each other is the sharing of our selves. Alice Howell, through her book THE DOVE IN THE STONE: FINDING THE SACRED IN THE COMMONPLACE, gifted me recently with a remembrance of my own Dove story, which I offer to you:

~ Nan Merrill

Being silent with friends

THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK, the latest sharing of Henri J.M. Nouwen's spiritual journey, is a gift of his struggles and self-doubts as he entered into a new vocation in the L'Arche community. From his entry on Being Silent With Friends:

~ from THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Lover of silence

Life is so filled with paradox! Words so often get in the way -- yet, we go into the Silence to hear the Word. And what a blessing are the words of Scripture, the words of individuals in every age that continue to live as gift. Isaac of Niniveh, a Syrian monk, offers us reflections on silence:

"If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God ... More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this "something" that is born of silence. If only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence ... After a while, a certain sweetness is born in the heart and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence."

~ Isaac of Niniveh
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