“Silence is an urgent necessity for us; silence is necessary if we are to hear God speaking in eternal silence; our own silence is necessary if God is to hear us” (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird, p.2).
In order to enter contemplation through the doorway of silence, Laird recommends using the Jesus Prayer or the prayer word. The most common form of the Jesus Prayer is “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” The short form is the prayer word, “Jesus.”
Through contemplation, “union with God is not something we are trying to acquire; God is already the ground of our being” (ibid. p.4). We need to rest in God. Psalm 62 states, “. . . our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The contemplative silence quiets the mind. “As R. S. Thomas puts it ‘the silence holds with its gloved hand the wild hawk of the mind’” (ibid. p.23).
According to Laird, some things that lie in the silence are “metaphors of light,” “luminous darkness” and “the light of the mind.” One of my experiences of entering the silence is expressed in a poem I wrote specifically for this article.
Tread lightly into the silence
So the echo of your last step
Is the only sound
As all sound fades
Out of the dark
The silence blossoms
Into petals of golden light
“The doorway into the silent land is a wound” (ibid. p.117). Enter the silence through your wounds. And what if your wounds are blessings that turn you back to God? Christian singer, Laura Story, expresses this truth in some lyrics from her emotionally moving song, Blessings.
Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?
Photo Credit: Photo by Steve at Flickr Creative Commons.