LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
*Brian Wilcox 'A Quiet Place ~ Sasanoa River'
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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 Walford Hughes
Our awareness of God is a syntax or the silence in which our souls mingle with the divine, in which the ineffable in us communes with the ineffable beyond us. It is the afterglow of years in which soul and sky are silent together, the outgrowth of accumulated certainty of the abundant, never-ending presence of the divine. All we need to do is to let the insight be and to listen to the soul's recessed certainty of its being a parenthesis in the immense script of God's eternal speech.
*Abraham J. Heschel
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The Sage, seeing some of the devotees were verbose in talking among themselves about their experiences and ideas, said, "The truest words I've shared with others remained unspoken."
On another occasion, the Sage was asked, "Why do you say you often feel unease speaking of the Truth?" He replied, "I have no idea what the Truth is I speak of, and the most holy of words about the Truth is far from the holiness the Truth Itself is."
Reverential silence is the first and foremost response to the Truth, as well as the most efficient, pure means to communicate the Truth.
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How interesting that the late Thomas Merton could write July 27-28, 1965, having lived on Earth since 1915 and been a Cistercian monastic for many decades, the following:
I have never before really seen what it means to live in the new creation and in the Kingdom. . . . Impossible to explain it. If I tried, I would be unfaithful to the grace of itó . . . It is what you make of it each day, in response to the Holy Spirit!
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I wrote in 2006, eleven years after being vowed to a contemplative life, the vows including to silence:
The morning of July 19, 2006, after reading in silence from St. Basil and St. Augustine, the Psalms, and Micah, I laid my body onto the floor. Amidst many changes going on in the external life, I rested in contemplation. I witnessed fatigue with words. What a blessed fatigue! What a gift when even religious words make the soul nauseous with their banality and triteness. I enjoyed the "grace of it." This oft resting has become to me a witness to what Buddhists call One Taste. This is freedom, freedom I have learned to relish as release from the need to make religion and spirituality another thing to do, to make happen, to prove myself by! In this, I know what St. Paul says: I, Brian, am already accepted in the Beloved, the Word! (Ephesians 1.6) How I am thankful that Buddhism helped me learn what the early Fathers of the Church taught, also, about this fecund and clear Silence!
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As one, over time, tastes more of the silent, sublime Grace, the less one feels a need to speak of it, to express it outside the heart wherein it expresses Itself within. One talks of it only to serve others; otherwise, one does not speak of it. And, in speaking of it, one can feel a sense of weariness, a feeling like exhausted fingers exploring the Dark to capture Nothing and to share Nothing.
the Word, or Way,
does not need to fulfill Itself
to image or word Itself
for the Truth is Its
a word to Itself
contemplation is resting in
returning in silence
to the primordial Silence
being true within Itself
not needing to come out
to be or express Itself
this is spoken by the Psalmist:
"Rest in the Lord"
"For the Eternal One only,
my soul, wait in silence"
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©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
*Quotes from Jane Walford Hughes and Abraham J. Heschel, at Friends of Silence, www.friendsofsilence.net .