A Zen Buddhist story tells of four monks who decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks. By nightfall on the first day, the candle began to flicker and went out. The first monk said, "Oh, no! The candle is out." The second monk said, "Aren't we not supposed to talk?" The third monk said, "Why must you two break the silence?" The fourth monk laughed and said, "Ha! I'm the only one who didn't speak."
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The Psalmist, in the Jewish Scripture, gives us words that invite us into silence, the intimacy of the Silence within...
I have calmed and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child upon its mother's breasts I am, my soul within is silenced like the weaned child.
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Silence invites us through the other into Silence, or we could say Love or Presence or God, no human, nothing, in itself alone invites for Silence. Silence is one with Its own welcome, never extending Itself outside Itself, rather inviting us into Itself. And, if we say Yes, we find ourselves being quietly drawn by the pull of this Silence, and this Silence teaches us Itself within ourselves, but not ourselves as separate from others, ourselves as one in Silence with others. And what does it teach us, as to Itself? That it is Love, and the never-ending revelations of what this Love is.
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A parishioner was sitting quietly, eyes closed, before the worship meeting was to begin. Her God and she were in quiet communion. The pastor was walking down the center aisle. He noticed this dear woman sitting, eyes closed, not speaking as others all around were doing. He said, leaning near, "Is everything alright?" The parishioner, startled and opening the eyes, replied, "Yes, everything was alright, Pastor. God and I were doing quite well together, until you just had to interrupt!"
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What humans most fear is not death, but life. By this I mean intimacy, which is Love expressing Itself in and through us, through all things. This for all things bears an intimacy aligned with its nature, even as humans bear differing qualities and degrees of closeness. Some have been so drawn into the Silence that their very presence is palpably an invitation to that same Silence, to intimacy with the Good, True, Beautiful. To be with such, endowed with such intimacy, is to be drawn not outside oneself, but into oneself, so into that which is the Presence holding both the other and oneself in a prior unity before the realization of that intimacy. In this intimacy of spirit-with-spirit, in Spirit, what one says and does becomes an invitation into the Silence, thereby words themselves become a celebration of the union, and Love moves in the energies of feelings. Here, what is said and felt is sacralized for being in the Silence, expressing that same Silence in which presence and absence are oneed in Love. And, here, one discovers Silence is not a negation of anything, but is Presence, an unceasing affirmation of Life.
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A Master enters life in silence His message is heard only in silence.
Drink His precious wine and forget yourself do not demean the greatness of His love. He turns the wheel of heaven, He is the helper of those who suffer in silence.
Follow Him without a word, He knows your every deed and will reveal one by one the thoughts buried in your heart. He will turn them into birds and set them free, in silence.
To glimpse the splendor of that moon turn your eyes inward, talk not of this world or of the next let Him pull you toward oneness in silence.
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I must be alone, to rest in the Quiet, and often, communing love-with-Love, spirit-with-Spirit. I must sink downward deeper into the Solitude within myself, the Silence in all silently. Then, with you, Silence can speak with Silence, and Love commune with Love, in every movement, each word, and the senses and feelings moving like unheard music between us, creating one Song from two. Then, our words will sing, and no longer divide us, but draw us from time into Eternity, and from our separate worlds into the boundlessness of Beauty and the wonder of Grace.
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(C)Brian Wilcox 2020
*Poem of Rumi... Rumi's Little Book of Life: The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit. Trans. Maryam Mafi, Azima Melita Kolin.