As I continued reading Father Joe, I came across a certain paragraph which particularly spoke out to me:
The only way to know God, the only way to know the other, is to listen. Listening is reaching out into that unknown other self, surmounting your walls and theirs; listening is the beginning of understanding, the first exercise of love.
None of us listen enough, do we, dear? We only listen to a fraction of what people say. It’s a wonderfully useful thing to do. You almost always hear something you didn’t expect.
We must listen because we are so often wrong in our certainties. When we pass a motion in the chaotic debating chamber of our heads, it’s never completely right, or even, most of the time, half right. The only way to edge closer to the truth is to listen with complete openness, bringing to the process no preconceptions, nothing prepared.
Listening really is of such great importance in life.
It was suggested to me, initially by Revd Ann and then by Fr Simon, that I try meditative prayer.
Once I finally did, I knew there was no going back!
Meditative prayer has changed my days in that I am so much more at peace, and always take a bit longer out of my day to just sit and listen to God.
The silence is special. Very special… and yet so hard to describe to someone. I think it’s definitely something you must have experienced to really understand.
The silence brings peace. Time to untangle the ‘debating chamber‘ in our heads and to come back to time with God in the stillness. In the calm.
Even to be outside where it is not silent, but to listen only to the voice of nature in God’s world. The wind and the birds and all the nearby sounds, multiplied to fantastic levels.
Whilst not meditating, but at the end of the intercessions in a church service once, the atmosphere was so still. And closing my eyes once more and blindly searching through the… silence… I heard a sound.
Yes it may well have been a phone or a radio in a room nearby… but a distant sound echoed in my mind.
It was like… running water and violins. A new sound, a sound of… peace.
Just for a second.
I’m not sure if the sound was indeed a distant echo of a world yet unreached, or whether it was in fact a piece of technology sounding in another room.
But it shows you really can hear extraordinary things in the silence, in the stillness.
And I’ve never heard anything like it before.
It was beautiful.
Sitting quietly and focusing only on God, and listening… is fantastic. And brings peace to me at a magnificent level.
20 minutes of quiet and a nice piece of music at the end.
How to sum up what I’ve learnt in my experience of this quiet…
The stillness speaks.