Silence is an urgent necessity for us. ~Martin Laird
We all experience it, even if we do not know how to name it. The restless frenzy. The onerous availability…to everyone…all the time. The constant barrage…of NOIZE.
And inside it
our souls crave
Perhaps we are aware. Many of us are not. But the need is there nonetheless. Unheeded, it drives us to medicate, to escape, to make horrible, selfish, destructive choices. And still, we hunger, our insides a jumble of confused nausea.
Today I offer you a deep breath. An invitation. To be still. To breathe slow. To listen. From voices more capable than mine. A poem, a proposition, and a portal. Do with them as you like.
It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In movement of the wind over grass.
There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions — that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.
~R. S. Thomas
In the New York Times, of all places. An article from some months back. Pico Iyer, The Joy of Quiet. Compelling.
I am in my second reading of Martin Laird’s Into the Silent Land (Thanks, Ian). This time I am reading it with friends. And we sit around the table and groan as our hearts resonate with his words, and with those of the saints and mystics who populate the work.
He tells us we cannot manufacture interior silence and communion with God any more than a gardener can make plants grow. But, like a gardener creates receptivity to growth by tilling the soil, providing fertilizer and water, removing weeds and guarding against marauders, we can cultivate practices that welcome this silent communion. It is one of the most inviting and instructive books I have ever read on the subject. I commend it to your attention. Laird is a worthy guide.
Praying that stillness and silence find you (and me) today.