Dandelions Decorate the Pasture
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Today's Saying: The landscape of Interior Prayer leads us nowhere, yet the going never ends.
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One of the best known of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of fourth-century Egypt, Sarapion the Sindonite, went on pilgrimage to Rome. Sarapion heard about a celebrated hermitess in the city. She lived in a small room, never leaving. Skeptical about her way of life, for he was a great wanderer, Sarapion visited her and asked, "Why are you sitting here?" She replied, "I am not sitting; I am on a journey."
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The one drawn to Silence may apply the solitary's words to herself: "When in Silence, apart or with others, I am going somewhere."
The Greek Orthodox theologian, Bishop Kallistos Ware, in The Orthodox Way, writes of the ceaseless pilgrimage...
Our situation, say the Greek Fathers, is like that of the Israelite people in the desert of Sinai: we live in tents, not houses, for spiritually we are always on the move. We are, on a journey through the inward space of the heart, a journey not measured by the hours of our watch or the days of the calendar, for it is a journey out of time into eternity.
Ware pens the above of Christians. Yet, it applies to all persons seeking to live a contemplative spirituality of whatever wisdom path.
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In Silence, it appears one is still, motionless. One is. However, a pilgrimage continues in the closet of interior prayer.
The more important movement in the Way is within the heart, the gateway from matter to Spirit. In the Quiet, there are deep, interior movements that are as real... even more so than our outer ones. This internal movement informs our outer life, progressively more as our center becomes the inner world, when before it was the external world. The inner sacramentalizes all else.
Hence, the internal movements are part of a journey unfolding. The whole journey is present already. Theoretically, there is no where to travel to; yet, we travel on, breath by breath and step by step.
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The lover-of-Silence does not become useless to others. The exteriors of the pilgrimage are lived more fully, rejoiced in, and shared with other creatures when joined with the pulsations of the Spirit arising in communion with the Heart of hearts. The outer life becomes like an echo of the inner life, the inward infusing the outward with ever-renewing vitality and meaning.
We, in the Way, relax with this tension of inner and outer; over time, the tension becomes less and less. We know we must often stop and be quiet and still. Yet, movement continues always. We never stop going somewhere - somewhere to somewhere - and this is most clear when we are going nowhere.
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*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. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.