Seeking Silence

“What you seek is seeking you.”
Rumi

Silence calls to me.

There’s an oxymoron for you.

Here’s another one: Thomas Keating says that silence is “God’s first language.”

I automatically equate language with the spoken word and this is a mistake on my part. Language occurs in so many different ways such as body movement, facial expression, feelings. Sound is not required.

Noise is easy to find in the world. Noise happens with constant abandon. I have nothing against noise. It is very necessary. Birds call to each other to find their way. A baby cries in the night to signal to mother a need to feed. Without noise, we would not hear the approaching car, the cell phone ringing, or the announcement that our dinner order is ready. Noise helps us survive. But we need silence to distinguish between the various noises in our lives to give them meaning. If we did not have those precious seconds of silence, life would just be one huge cacophony of sound and nothing would make sense.  

The Quakers believe that God speaks to us in silence. Their unprogrammed worship is conducted in silence – they gather in communal stillness. No one speaks unless he or she feels moved to do so by God.

I am seeking some spontaneous silence . . . a time where noise falls away and makes room for the voice of God. Usually, that only occurs during a power outage and that just aggravates people.

When I sought out a way to learn to speak God’s first language – silence – I found Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is reminiscent of meditation. One chooses or asks the Holy Spirit for a sacred word as the focus of intention to consent to God’s presence. When distracted by thoughts (which also include feelings and body sensations) while in prayer, I return to the word to return to the place within me where God and I reside.

In his book, Manifesting God, Thomas Keating makes the important distinction that God is not separate from us. God is within us at all times and it is up to us to create this space, this fourth dimension within ourselves, where we can constantly communicate and live in the presence of God.

The call is not a noise or a sound. It is an urging, a pulling, a beckoning . . . like home waiting in the distance with a candle flickering in the window.

4 thoughts on “Seeking Silence

  1. Very nice and much needed. I am always seeking silence but you’ve caused me to think about adding that word. It seems like a simple way to turn meditation into centering prayer. Thanks.

  2. Hi, Stacy — I have found that letting spirit give me a word is also a way for God to speak to me. Thanks for stopping by! Barbara

  3. I loved the reference to silence being a form of language. As with any language, there are many inflections and intonations within silence; companionable silence, angry silence, bewildered silence, prayerful silence, desolate silence, appreciative silence … the variables are endless. Silence as a bridge between distraction and prayerful meditation. Communication, without sound. Nicely done.

  4. Hi, Nancy — silence sometimes speaks very loudly. I need to embrace it more and use it more wisely. There are times when I have been silent and wish I had spoken, and other times when I have spoken and wished I had kept silent. I am looking for more wisdom and hope to find it in that fourth dimension Thomas Keating talks about.

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