Here is a beautiful reflection on the life and truth of silence. Rich Lewis is a centering prayer teacher and practitioner who writes on the site SilenceTeaches.com. You may have seen some of my writing on his site as well. I did an interview with him a little while back which you can find here. It is with great pleasure that I share his reflection now:
I cannot imagine a better start to each day than a silent sit.
When I practice centering prayer, I respond to God’s question, “Will you sit with me (Matthew 11:28)?” When we center like Jesus, we say, “Not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:35). I sit in silence to be loved and healed by God. Silence creates a space for us to heal. The space created by silence and stillness helps us find our equilibrium, our center of gravity.
I sit in silence because it is a safe place to let go of my anger and guilt for this anger. I sit in silence to let go of jealousy, which is an obstacle to the release of my God given potential. I sit in silence to let the Creator create through me, to let go and trust God. I sit in silence because I love God. I sit in silence to enter a journey that God and I travel together. Silence teaches me how to live.
Silence is not often thought of as a teacher. Most often our society refers to silence as “dead time.” What, if anything, can be special about silence? This is where a transformation has taken place in my life. I have come to see how precious silence is – how silence is God’s first language. Gregory (540 to 604) and a number of monks and mystics since have stated that “Silence is God’s first language and everything else is a poor translation.” This premise is the basis of my website, http://www.SilenceTeaches.com.
Words do not always need to be said. In contemplative prayer we float in the ocean of God. You can’t sink because God will hold you. Thomas Keating writes, “Contemplative Prayer is the world in which God can do anything.” Our job is to enter and see what happens.
The heart of Centering Prayer is “consent” – consent to the presence and action of God in our lives. That is it! We do not need to make it complicated. Like myriads of contemplatives before us, we open to the presence of God in silence. We let God do the work. When we center we let God take action within (Luke 17:21). If we open to God, God will become present and when ready, God will act within. And, we will take this action into our non-centering times of the day.
We cannot define God (Exodus 20:4)! We can only open to God. In a radio interview Amos Smith mentioned that he has chosen his well and will dig (as opposed to digging in several wells/traditions). I feel the same way. I have chosen my well. It is centering prayer and I will dig. Silent prayer is not escape from this world but rather prepares me to engage and fully live in this world. The deep well of centering prayer provides a foundation, which gives me the stability and solidity to carry out my life mission.
Rich Lewis teaches centering prayer in his local/virtual community at both church and college/university settings and also offers one on one coaching. Rich publishes a weekly meditation and book reviews on his site, Silence Teaches. Learn more about Rich at http://www.SilenceTeaches.com