I was reflecting upon one of the poems in my new book, it was all about an experience of silence that was not consoling, yet evoked a rich reflection resulting in words that touch deeply. What do you think when you read through this poem? I’ll continue my reflection below…

         Shaking the rafters
         Terrible, terrible
Where are you, my Love?
         Blanketing the land
         Looming, looming
Where are you, my Love?
         Walling the search
         Squelching, squelching
Where are you, my Love?
         Deadening the song
         Saddening, saddening
Where are you, my Love?
         Taking me.    Leaving me.
         Immersing me. Emptying me.
Can silence beckon?

Is emptiness fullness or absence?
My Love are you in the silence?
          Are you the silence?


Taken from Beloved Found, Poems from the Source

Hmmmmm….there is a way that expressing these words held its own consolation. But honestly, I think you would agree, it doesn’t feel great when we feel squelched, deadened, saddened, or walled up from fulfillment. And yet, we read in the writings of many mystics, and I myself purport, that it is in silence that all fulfillment is found. I believe that silence is a quality of presence and in a way it beckons us to abide there. But why does it beckon? And what does this beckoning yield when we respond and surrender into it? Here are two examples where the silence is an impulse pulling us into the surrender.

Sometimes beckoning happens because I have separated from myself and it is a call to return home to the center of being.

Sometimes, however, it is a mysterious part of a process where we have not ‘left’ ourselves through false senses of identity, but are rather are plunged into a state that leaves us feeling empty, bereft, cut off from and even abandoned for reasons that remain mysterious.

You may wonder, how can we know the difference between the two?

I am still exploring these questions myself, but have found that when the first is happening, that is, having cut off from myself, there is a rest that comes in the surrender into the silence. It carries its own reward of peace because it is a return to center. And there is unrest until this happens.

And, when the latter is happening, there is a lack of complete rest, but also a certainty and abiding that happens in the surrender into the silence, and a certain sense of being undone. It could be likened to the process of navigating an all-consuming challenge and the challenge doesn’t disappear but the capacity to be with it grows stronger.

Either way, the silence, as terrible as it can be at times when ease or joy are not sensibly present, provides stability. Silence becomes a place where we become undaunted, not moved by passing consolations and not moved by passing tribulations. This reflection reminds me of another poem by beloved friend, Teresa of Avila, Nada de Turbe, which goes like this:

Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing frighten you
All things are passing
God never changes
Patient endurance
Attains to all things
Nothing is wanting
To the one who has God
God alone suffices.

Do you wrestle with silence? Do you wonder what silence is? Do you avoid silence? What is it like when you are alone without external distraction? What is your path to peace? These questions are vital to wholeness.

Even if your language is not about ‘silence,’ what the experience points to is universal~ one of Presence.


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