“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room…”Mt 6:6
“Silence is the first language of God”, Saint John of the Cross once said. Perhaps that’s why sitting in silence always attraced me. From a pre-school age boy, spinning the wheels of his upside-down tricycle, to a pubescent boy, sitting cross-legged on a rock to irritate a friend, to a post-adolescent young man in college that sat under a tree in Autumn: I’ve savored silence.
But I didn’t truly understand silence as prayer until Saturday, September 15, 2001–the first Saturday after 9/11. The Sisters at Marydell offered a workshop on Centering Prayer that day. Mira and I, both informal practioners of silent meditation, attended.
That workshop began the journey I still make today. We sat, focusing on our chosen “sacred word,” returning to it “ever so gently” when thoughts arose that distracted us from our intent: to “consent to God’s presence and action in the present moment.”
To be still, in silence, and know that God is God.
Thus, I discovered my inner room. It was the darkness upon which my memory and imagination erupted in squalls of projections. It’s where the cacaphony of Greek Choruses would not shut up. It’s where I returned, “ever so gently,” over and over again, to the breath–my chosen “sacred symbol.”
That room: it’s the spaciousness of the universe. It’s floating in the middle of the ocean. It’s being a newborn in a teary-eyed mother’s hands. That room is where I felt the Way flow through me. Any stillness and love that I embody, I do so from whom I encountered in that room.
Silence is the first language of God. I’ve always been drawn to it. I’ve now learned how to listen. Perhaps, sometimes, I can even utter one of it’s ever-unspoken syllables.
the last birdsongs
for dVerse Poets’ Poetics: Make some room (pubtended by Laura Bloomsbury)
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