Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Silent Saturday 31/10/2010 and No Talking to Myself Tuesday 2/11/2010

Saturday began wet and raining no chance at all to do any of the lawn mowing I had planned to do. No television, no internet, no computer, no radio. Just the sound of rain on the roof and cars driving past. The dog and I were dry inside. I got to my painting preparing two canvasses and finishing one piece. I also continued my reading of Thomas Merton's Contemplative Prayer which became more and more enlightening about where I am when it comes to my relationship with God.

It seems God is just an omnipotent friend who I call for help from when the effluent hits the propellor. My noise internally and externally were boundaries which kept him from me until I wanted his help. In stripping away the external noise in the car and in the home I have come across the internal noise that is also there to stop God getting too close.

The way of prayer brings us face to face with the sham and indignity of the false self that seeks to live for itself alone..” Merton Contemplative Prayer

The sham of my own rapid stream of thought and noise that goes on searching for the next piece of amusement to dwell on is a barrier to any true silence. Any real prayer of the heart is impossible with this background internal noise.

Man's heart is far from him [God] when it is occupied in superfluous cares...” Peter of Celles in Merton's Contemplative Prayer
I last mentioned the use of Psalmody and recitation of Proverbs 3:5-6 and Ephesians 6:10 and that they have led to singing versions. Now thats all well and good but it's an amusement, a novelty and a distraction which leads in other directions of mirth and enjoyment. Such enjoyment is good and praise to God is a great thing yet another novelty is another distraction. This is supposed to be contemplation aiding me to get beyond the internal noise not adding to it another form of mirth.

The whole life of Christ was cross and martyrdom why do you go looking for rest and mirth” A'Kempis, Imitation of Christ.

So I have gone further back to a more primitive form of prayer which should not be given rhythm beyond inhale and exhale. “Lord God help me.” or “Lord Jesus help me”. Distraction in the form of rhythm, rhyme, melody is going to become another novelty right now and I have too many of them.

When I first tried silence I found the fear of silence was really a fear to not let God closer. I used the noise of television, radio, and the internet to block him out. This was merely the first level making space for him to enter. Now there is further and deeper closeness as Merton describes so well...

We wish to gain a true knowledge of God, our Father and Redeemer. We wish to loose ourselves in his love and rest in him. We wish to hear his word and respond to it with our whole being. We wish to know his mercy and submit to it in its totality. These are the aims and goals of meditatio and oratio." Merton Contemplative Prayer

Intimacy with God is what Merton is describing. Loosing ourselves in his love could be found in a ballad about lovers and thats an intimacy I have not experienced. I find myself once again staring at the next depth and fear of the unknown as before grows. I can delight in standing at the top of a mountain or a tall building, but depths scare me. Put me in the ocean looking at the drop off where the real sea begins in its depth and darkness. Where blue becomes darker and darker until blackness where anything can dwell in that suffocating darkness. Yet I am reminded that God is light and love and he delights in me as I should in him.

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