Silent words

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We’re living through a┬áseason of family funerals, illness among family, friends and neighbours, and truly shocking events on the wider world stage. We’ve physically journeyed to celebrate┬álives lived far from our home, but close to our hearts. And then there’s the daily mental travel, hither and thither, at breakneck speed. Often I have heard the admonishment in E H Sears’ great Christmas hymn – ‘hush the noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing.’

So why did I drag my feet as I prepared for today’s Contemplative gathering? Why? When I knew from experience that soon enough – towards the end of the day – I’d be wishing (again) for such a day every day! Well, I guess it’s because we humans are a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. We simply forget. We get lost in our own ‘stuff.’ Or idiocy.

Anyway. I found myself in the right chair, at the right time, in a circle with perhaps 25 others. The facilitator offered brief introductory words about words – ‘the black words’ (the literal, the descriptive, the ‘go into your room and shut the door’) and the white words (what’s beneath the merely obvious? – the metaphorical, the ‘go into your inner room and shut the door’). And thankfully these spoken words were intended to lead the gathering towards silent words: the generous, gentle breath of life where ‘angels’ (silently, even if noisily) ‘sing’!

And after a little space (was it an hour? or two? who knows?) the little circle rippled outwards and elsewhere, and I felt the sun hot on my shoulders on the riverbank, and birdsong joyous in my ears, and the river’s singing, dappled and unprotesting, as Life flowed on – and my doing battle with it – with the river, with Life – my ‘I’m not really sure I want to go today’ subsided into new recognition of the Ancient Memory – the ‘quiet waters by.’ And rippled, returning to the circle, and later rippled on outwards, and homewards. Again.