Richard Rohr suggests that, “ As a general spiritual rule, you can trust this: The ego gets what it wants with words. The soul finds what it needs in silence.” Most of my religious upbringing and training taught prayer through words. Whether it was a morning prayer or an evening prayer, it was normally expressed through language; and at that, memorized language. I was trained in a way that suggested that the gateway to a relationship with the divine was provided to me by religious language that people who were ‘in with God’ would try and provide to me. And, I am sure that this early training provided a kind of scaffolding to orient me toward an established path of dialogue and liturgy with God. Then, one day, something shifted for me – inwardly – rendering what I experienced outwardly through religion less fulfilling. A sort of restlessness expanded within me nudging me toward a relationship with God best found in silence.
Initially, entering silence was difficult it was hard to settle my busy mind and almost frightening in contrast with the noise and distraction of my daily life. Yet, an inner longing provided me the wisdom and patience to practice silence and increase my tolerance for detaching from the busyness of my mind and my life. Over time, I have reached a new kind of experience with silence. Now, I find that there is a rhythm to silence and I experience silence as a spaciousness of being.
Silence as the space beyond all language draws me deeper into a sense of peace and connectedness. As I learn to dwell more often and more comfortably in this essential place of inward being, my outward experience seems to be enhanced by a kinder, more compassionate sense of life. I embrace the idea that this prayer practice nourishes my soul which in turn replenishes my heart and my presence in the world.