A House of Silence
Midcoast Friends Meeting; Damariscotta, ME
Some twenty years ago, while serving as a pastor in Gainesville, FL, an interfaith retreat opened outside the city. I decided to take my yearly 8-Day silent retreat there. During most of the retreat, and leaving shortly before I, was a woman observing silence. I had never met her. No other retreatants were present. We never talked; my recall is our eyes met only once.
Upon leaving, the other retreatant left a message for me with the site co-owner. She wanted him to tell me how much I had helped her during the retreat. Her comment surprised me. I had no idea.
Anyone who lives a life of spiritual contemplation long enough comes to know what people call communication is a thin surface of unexplored depths. These depths need not, however, be understood, which would be a futile effort, anyway. Here, however, what we cannot understand, and may feel somewhat threatening initially to our sense of self, can be known and receive our welcome.
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So, we will not learn of this communication in writings about good communication. This sharing is beyond what goes by "good communication," for it is before such. This sharing is without technique; it is a spontaneous expression of pure presence.
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This anecdote harkens back to the last writing on this site: "Presence Sharing Presence: Thoughts on an Intangible Communication." "Intangible" literally means "not able to be touched." While you can smell a scent, you cannot touch it. You can think of an idea, but you cannot put your arms around it. You can dearly love and kiss your beloved, while you cannot kiss the love that inspires the kiss.
Intangible communication is sharing apart from words or other gestures. Words and gestures are most true to our deepest nature when they come out of the silence of our true selves. This truest is so, for our true self, underlying the costume of individuality, is a single self, one presence presenting itself in the guise of our faces and lives.
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2023.
*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and title and place of photograph.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.