This morning, as I sat in the silence of Quaker meeting, I remembered the pure gift of quiet times.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is one of my favorite verses because it comes from the first person perspective – God speaking within us, through us, as part of our inner consciousness, when we commit to time in silence.
This morning, at the same time that I was contemplating the sacred space of Quaker meeting, everyone around me was experiencing the silence along their own spiritual journeys. We held a shared space for reflection that spoke to each heart uniquely, as God transformed each one of us in a radically intimate way. This is the gift of both solitude and togetherness that I feel blessed to experience in our community.
But at the same time, silence confronts us with the reality that we block away during our every day lives. It forces us to be with ourselves – all of ourselves.
The most challenging moments are times when I have ignored my need for quiet. Thoughts, motivations, the pulling tugs of the world on my heart build up within my soul so that I have difficulty hearing the True voice within. I feel so torn at times by my thoughts that I forget how to be still. What will I do after meeting? What will I say in a conversation with a conflicting relationship? When will I get my laundry done this week?
Thankfully, God speaks in silence even when I am taken by my thoughts – and often, my body feels the healing properties of silence before my mind realizes it is actually quiet in here. I feel my pulse slow to its steady beat, in rhythm with my breath. I feel a warmth emanate from my heart and flourish in my belly. Then, when I least expect it, I see in my mind’s eye the purifying Light of Christ dispelling my thoughts away. I feel His warmth in my being, holding all the tensioned parts of my self in wholeness.
In those rare moments, the silence of the Light is enough to cast away all fears. My thoughts, actions, ways become centered upon this ever-present illumination.
When I return to the world, even though I feel fragmented by the conflicted state where I forget my true nature, it still resides within me. Even if I forget where I am centered, I still reside in Christ’s body. It is a continual act of turning from darkness to Light that requires a strength beyond my own imagination, and almost always, happens without my noticing.
This is the grace of quiet times: recentering, renewal, rejoicing in the Light.
I give Thee thanks, O gracious Creator, for time spent in silent communion.