Voice and Vision

One Woman's WORDS AND WORKS •grapple •inspire •liberate

154: Silence

A strong wind storm took out our power and satellite five days ago. The electric power came back on in about 24 hours, but telephone, internet–which come via satellite–are still out. A tech repairman is due to arrive tomorrow. How frustrating to live without communication for nearly a week! I presume all has been well with kids and friends I would normally reach, and if anyone emailed to inquire about purchasing a painting or taking a class, I have no way of knowing.

This got me to thinking about silence.

Silence is not an easy state to come by in our world clogged by sounds, concerns, and busyness. So much interrupts! But one way out is meditation. It leads to spiritual depth where Love lives.

I used to meditate, especially the years while working on my Master’s Degree in Spiritual Direction at seminary. Not as much now.

Meditation requires sitting in silence with eyes closed, for a set period of time, usually about 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each day, quietly repeating a mantra, such as maranatha (an Aramaic word that means “an invitation to be with the power of Life”, or, “Come, Lord/God”). Not focusing on oneself, one learns not to pay attention to thoughts or interruptions that may pop up. Staying with her mantra is the entire focus of the meditator. Eventually, this meditative silence begins a journey of self-discovery and self-forgetfulness, spiritual depth, harmony, clarity, peace, the presence of God.  


If you are new to meditation, a book I’d suggest is John Main’s The Way of Unknowing. An Englishman who studied theology, Main left his religious studies to get a law degree, then joined the British Colonial Service where in Malaya he learned meditation from Dr. Swami Satyananda, an Indian Hindu. Main returned to Great Britain, became a Benedictine priest, and over time, established numerous meditation centers throughout England and Canada, traveling and teaching throughout the world until his death in 1982.

Throughout his book, The Way of Unknowing, Main’s message is: have the discipline to sit still in absolute silence, both physically and mentally; stick with your mantra; meditate twice daily; be detached from self-consciousness, senses, fears, and desires. Main says the meditator must refuse to live life on the surface and must be committed to going deep. He insists that meditation is simple and must be undertaken in simplicity. He writes: “To learn to meditate we have to learn to be profoundly silent.”

Though I may not acquire profound silence immediately or thoroughly, I’ve begun.

Secret Place, framed oil, 12" x 10", $295 by Gwendolyn Evans

Secret Place, framed oil, 12″ x 10″, $295 by Gwendolyn Evans

Artwork:  Secret Place, framed oil, 12″ x 10″, $295.  A very recent piece, currently at my framer’s, this is a local scene but with feelings I bring to it that aren’t necessarily part of the physical landscape. It captures what would be a quiet oasis where one might sit and think in nature’s stillness.

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