God's poet is silence! His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken -
The unceasing song of the first morning star ....
Joaquin Miller, The True Poet
There was a beautiful calmness this week, a gentle invitation for the Spirit into Silence. It was restful, with a grateful recognition of peace, simplicity and community. And then, typically, a familiar moment of turmoil arrived, with its not-so-welcome recognition of panic, confusion and isolation. It amazes me how our default polarities sit so closely together, pulling us from one extreme to the other.
The spiritual masters, saints and mystics have recommended for hundreds and thousands of years, that we consciously place our attention on Silence and Presence, rather than on the story or object of our disharmony; focus on the Presence rather than on the circumstances of the turmoil; focus on the background Silence in which this is all taking place. In this way, the circumstances are acknowledged, allowed and absorbed into the entire background, rather than so dominating our foreground that we cannot even sense Silence as the background.
This is a practice of prioritising Presence over the restless, ever-changing, often weary landscape of our minds. It is the repetitive action of placing our attention on God, on Silence, like the hall light we leave on through the night while we sleep. Ramana Maharshi tells us to concentrate on the light, rather than on what is illuminated by the light. This is our permanent landing place. This is certainly one reminder I constantly use, and somehow, I recognise my true Self there, in recognising God, and an ease comes to the Spirit.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
Silence, as Presence, as Beingness, is the background which holds all else, and into which everything is absorbed and dissolves. It is Silence in the presence of turmoil, peace, fear, frustration, joy, disappointment and inconsistency. It is Silence in spite of noise, interruption, disharmony, joy, progression, success. It is the Silence within which our inner knowing is revealed.
In an attitude of trust and silence, we bow everything to God. Contemplation confirms that a higher order of balance and harmony is working its way out in us and in Life itself. These moments of turmoil take us beyond Resilience. We just need to keep our eye on the light, and watch it continue to shine forth in and around us.
Returning to silence is returning to peace.
Returning to peace, the world reharmonises itself.