Easter thoughts on prayer and silence 2016
When to a mother's heart does it ever feel less than a treason to release her children to their own lives, I wonder as I paraphrase Robert Frost. His words in the poem, 'Reluctance', (...concludes with the phrase "when to the heart of (man) does it feel less than a treason to go with the wind of things, and accept with grace, the end of a love or season...") wing around in my head and heart as Frost's grace helps me find a balancing place, sometimes...., but honestly, often it aches. My heart. Not a big ache, but a subliminal tug that signals a desire, but most likely a need, for more. More love, more play, more sharing and conversation, more togetherness, as in a former season of our lives together. Even though I've long realized my "requirements" in this regard, and have mostly worked to release the dominance of wanting more, more, more...yet, sometimes....
Birthing was the topic of our Advent/Lenten journeys (Notes from Baja 2016) as we observed the poignant question, "How do we come to terms with ourselves," posed by the Czech president Vaclav Havel in 1989 as the "Velvet Revolution" quietly delivered the new Czech Republic.
Since then, I've been considering prayer and it's mirror image, silence. We've know that the contemplative heart yearns for quietness. Silence is God's first language, John of the Cross tells us, for the silence reaches beyond itself to something more profound. As silence is practiced, its profundity explodes into two powerful dynamics. Affirming grace to our very being, and Deep mercy that heals our broken places, our wounds.
If we are honestly asking ourselves the question Havel has presented, then the desire for More has already tiptoed into our consciousness. Whew. Longing is a big step. Then. Intention and Action: We desire silence and intend to enter in. As the silence begins to disturb, our hearts grow bigger and we 'see' beyond to the Mystery. This 'looking' is hardly conscious. As we practice silence, profound changes take place beyond our knowing. Contemplative guru, Beatrice Bruteau's writings corroborate Havel's, yet she moves us beyond Havel's words and is bold to say the work of prayer is to transform our sense of identity, for we do not know who we are. Could it be that the process inside silence conforms us to something larger than our myopic needs.
Here's where Frost's poem gets me every time. "To go with the wind of things," he says, "and accept with a grace, the end of a love or season." I don't know how graceful I am per the above example about letting my grown children become who they are, but I have experienced, through silence, that my need begins to diminish, the waiting grace more palpable, and magically the largesse of my love grows.
I'm not sure I want to tackle "how to come to terms with myself" in just those words, this Easter Season, but intuitively, I do affirm that as I enter into the silence of prayer, the "self" that enters is not the same one that exits. My identity truly has shifted, I experience a minor resurrection, even for a brief time. The more silence, the more shift.
Taize offers us the quiet to begin to come to terms with ourselves.
Who woulda thought.