Silence: A Profound Practice
By Rev. Carolyne Mathlin
We tend to think a grand spiritual quest is necessary to discover God and our inner divinity. But there is no need to go anywhere or do anything to find God. In the midst of all experience, whether we label it spiritual or human, is Silence. Silence is the Ground of All Being. The modern-day Christian mystic Father Thomas Keating says, "The language of God is Silence. Everything else is a poor translation."
Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore started his practice of the Silence in the pursuit of Truth. He wished to move beyond the contradictions and paradoxes he was seeing and reading about. He said to himself, "If I am Spirit and this God they talk so much about is Spirit, we can somehow communicate, or the whole thing is a fraud." Then he started to sit in the Silence every night for an hour to get in touch with God.
Like any spiritual practice, silent meditation has to be experienced, committed to and practiced over and over again. It is like learning to swim. We cannot learn to swim until we actually get into the water. When we get in the water for the first time, it might be scary, uncomfortable or awkward. The more time we spend there, the more we practice, the greater our sense of ease. We develop a skill set and ultimately it becomes as natural as breathing.
Just as learning to swim does not prevent the occasional experience of choppy waters, so too, in meditation, we may still experience disturbances in our lives. Our new practice creates the container and the method by which we navigate whatever may show up.
The intention of silent meditation is conscious contact with God. We set aside the distractions of the world and connect deeply with the essence of our being. Practicing the Silence will not "get" us anything. It connects our conscious mind with God, the All-That-Is. As we align in consciousness, as we swim in the ocean of Silence, we develop a conscious inner awareness. We experience the Silence as the constant, abiding foundation of all that arises and falls away in this world. We see the play of consciousness for what it is and align with the Eternal. We see with new eyes, hear with new ears. We live what is described as "the peace that passes all understanding."
How do you begin? It’s quite simple. Sit quietly in the Silence. If you need a focus, follow your breath. If your mind chatters, and it will, just gently return focus to your breath. Dissolve into the Silence and let the Silence reveal Itself to you.
God is always present in every aspect of our lives. Practicing the Silence brings our consciousness into the direct experience of God. It is that simple. It is that profound.