Saturday, November 27, 2010

The eternal silence of God

Artist: El Greco

Today, I'm finding myself focusing on the writings of John Main for several of my blogs. Here's a passage that addresses something about silence:
Language is so weak in explaining the fullness of the mystery. That is why the absolute silence of mediation is so supremely important. We do not try to think of God, talk to God or imagine God. We stay in that awesome silence open to the eternal silence of God. We discover in meditation, through practice and taught daily by experience, that this is the natural ambience for all of us. We are created for this and our being flourishes and expands in that eternal silence.

“Silence” as a word, however, already falsifies the experience and perhaps deters many people, because it suggests some negative experience, the deprivation of sound or language. People fear that the silence of meditation is regressive. But experience and tradition teach us that the silence of prayer is not the pre-linguistic but the post-linguistic state in which language has completed its task of pointing us through and beyond itself and the whole realm of mental consciousness. The eternal silence is not deprived of anything nor does it deprive us of anything. It is the silence of love, of unqualified and unconditional acceptance.
I think the distinction between a pre-linguistic and a post-linguistic stated is an important one, actually.


  1. Absolutely beautiful - a real keeper. These words, although they are words, describe what we yearn for in the silence.

  2. The distinction between pre and post-linguistic is quite intriguing. I have to say, however, that I think that silent meditation is a gift. It may be a gift that others can learn to practice in the same way that a not very musically gifted person can, through practice, learn to play an instrument or sing. But I am convinced that there are those who are gifted with 'soul' in meditation, in a similar way as there are those who are gifted with 'soul' in music.

    Some who are not gifted with ‘soul’ in music are aware of it and prefer to let those who are gifted be the musicians while they listen. Those who are gifted with 'soul' in music are almost universally aware that they have a gift that simply can't be taught, even if skill in playing or singing can. I find it strange that those who seem to be gifted in meditation think that others are not so gifted simply because they haven't chosen to be. I know I am not gifted with 'soul' in meditation or silence. Neither am I am drawn to these spiritual practices. But I am happy that others are. And I have witnessed the benefits that those who are bring to those who are not. But I don't regret that I am not drawn to silence or meditation. Rather, I am satisfied that I am drawn to active meditation and that that happens even as I am writing. Writing and talking with others who seek to reflect on life and meaning are my meditation.


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