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Silence is alive

At this time of year it is usual to have new year’s resolutions and wishes, certain objectives or goals to be achieved arise… What can you tell me about this subject?

It is very common. When we are guided by the calendar we notice a change, a kind of new stage or opportunity to start over. It’s a bit like that notebook with blank pages I was telling you about, that taste we have for starting from scratch, that taste for writing skillfully and neatly. All these proposals for change, for improvement, for doing things differently, are very useful to each one according to their stage of the journey they’re at.

But I would say that the best purpose or goal is that which is achieved at the very moment we find ourselves in right now. Something that you have right now and that by its very nature cannot be lost. We all seek a stable peace and well-being that we intend to achieve in some future through this or that. However, that soft joy and serene contentment are right here and now and are independent of whatever is happening in our current perception, that is, what we observe in the world or in our mind.

Precisely this one who observes lives at the core of the spiritual heart in an environment of sonorous silence… It is an echoing silence because it is full. It is not the silence of a dead void, of inert things irreparably. It is a very living silence, as if it were a fresh and immaterial liquid or a living aroma that ripples everywhere.

How to get there?

It is precisely when you see it as something that is ” out there” or in the future that the essence of what we are talking about escapes you. You have to try to believe what I tell you and try, to take a sample in your own experience to see if what I tell you is true. As soon as you have a moment in the daily hustle and bustle of life, sit down for a moment where you are comfortable. Leave your body still for a few moments, without stiffness but more or less still. Ignore the countless fluctuations of the mind just for a few moments. Remain present and attend to the silence… It is like a space between sounds, an intangible something that you will nevertheless perceive. Or, if you prefer, attend to the space between things, to that “emptiness” that separates one object from another… I can’t tell you more… It’s something you notice or maybe not, it depends a lot on the willingness and dedication you put into that attention.

How can I tell if I have discovered what you are referring to?

Again you take the mind stance and from there, you try to grasp something that cannot be grasped or possessed because it is immaterial. But it is not the nothingness, but rather the whole of God’s subtle presence, or as I like to say: it is Christ embracing you. It is likely that you feel a gratitude emerging from your heart that has no object, you feel grateful for no reason. When we realize that in reality we are always involved in grace, feeling grateful seems the only thing to “do”. We discover that we are always protected, sheltered; the hidden helplessness by which we usually live disappears. What the psalmist said becomes our own truth, and some monks sing: “My refuge is in the Most High… my refuge is with the Most High…!

But it’s difficult, not because I sit still for a while and listen, I’m going to find what he says. I have taken similar attitudes but the mind prevailed and that made me feel uneasy.

It is possible. In that case, offer your restlessness and uneasiness to that God you seek and that you can’t find. Claim your right to discover the meaning of life, which is what line us up with His will. Claim with respect but vehemently your right to peace and meaning, to the access to the sacred. When that cry is deep, when you realize that it is the only thing you truly desire beyond all that you seek… You recognize in your very act of consecration and search that which you claim. Everything that happens has meaning, rest in it…

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The desert of the unexpected

Our particular internal situation becomes clear when we are in the middle of the desert. When we are left without being able to dispose of what we cling to. Suddenly, we cannot repeat the execution of that habit or start a conversation with that person, we can no longer count on what we had. The desert can come when sickness, unemployment, unwanted loneliness or a sudden change in mood that leaves us in heartburn.

The desert, that which has no boundaries, leaves us without hold, tears away our dependencies, strips us; it shows us its own face, the one we do not want to see, so as not to feel the pain of our constant postponement of change. This figure – that of the desert – which is always mentioned in the history of spirituality, reflects the situation of the human soul: We are here, in the middle of the immensity, included in what cannot be measured or understood.

It is in this situation of perplexity before the mysterious existence, when the real questions can manifest in us. For this reason, The Voice cries out in the desert, (John 1, 23) calling us to profound transformation, to a more true living, inspires us with the desire to make life sacred. Is it that life has meaning without the sacred in it?

The irruption of the desert in our life, -the emergence of the unwanted or the fall of illusions- is a way in which God calls us to awaken the spirit. The emptiness of the desert overwhelms us, dismantles false securities, reveals what it is. What if I am not going to make that purchase? Or if I’m not going to talk to that person? Or if I don’t turn on the television or go online? What if I allow the desert to enter my life? And, in that case, how do you really go through it on a daily basis?

Let us clear the way, so that that Light of which John was a witness may manifest in our lives. (John 1, 6-8) And then how to clear the way?