Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night……Thoreau
rapt in the ecstasies of time lapsing……like a magician’s trick…..a play on light, up and down with the moon and sun…..the only way to really ‘see’ it is through quietude…to cast a spell into the fertile, magical beauty of illusion……sweet, deep, silence…..
Trembling under a mass of stars, deeper and deeper. In a dream I am told that behind the heart there lies a tiny organ that, though totally unknown, is felt when it quivers in the echo of the first conscious Silence. Dreaming me says. ‘Oh, that time I crept outside to get away from everyone and their words, and I lay on the ground to hide from the sounds and find peace in the silence.’ Remembering the smell of grass, the snuffle of the dog’s curious, wiggling warmth, the swaddling of the dark, silent night; here my heart leapt through my throat and into the heavens that offered the silent love of night. From that moment, there remains within my soul that which recognizes any silence; that comforts and consoles, holds and heals. This tiny organ of perception; the one just behind the heart; the one not spoken of or acknowledged: it is there in all of us; it trembles with joy when Silence approaches. We think we have butterflies in our stomach; but truly, we are sensing the approach of a tangible realm. It is a realm that we are hardly aware of, yet are desperately seeking. When we stumble onto it, it fills us with unspeakable wonder and we are awakened into the realm of our true human spirit……Cheryl Sanders-Sardello
Thomas Merton learned that waiting for a ‘word’ he could not speak to himself was the essence of prayer. Stillness, poverty of spirit, keeping vigil, guarding thoughts, and fasting from one’s own selfishness were essential attributes of his practice of monastic humanism. In one of his last books, he defined contemplation as ‘essentially a listening in silence’ and ‘an expectancy’….’The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when he is ‘answered,’ it is not so much by a word that bursts into this silence. It is by this silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God’……Jonathon Montaldo