Thursday, 6 August 2009

Brave new world

For months, if not years, I have been considering the following words from caliban in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' when explaining to people who may be encountering the silence of Meeting for the first time. I feel that they have something to offer in that from experience I know that people can effectively panic when being taught how to breath in yoga/relaxation for the first time. Breathing is something which we take for granted but having to focus upon it and the process of breath control can make people feel extremely uncomfortable and can induce something, as I say, akin to panic.
Silence is something which we think we know about but rarely encounter and wonder if it has a similarity with Propero's island which causes Caliban to say:

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

Our heads can fill with many things in the silence from wondering whether we have locked the dorr to shopping lists. Even with hearts and minds prepared it can be difficult to center down. Achieving the silence can be daunting and can surface long forgotten fears. It is our step into the unknown. To quote Lennon and McCartney we needs must attempt to 'turn off our minds and surrender to the void'.
How have others found their encounters with silence to quote John Punshon?


Jan Lyn said...

Intriguing and the words from Prospero's Island are a comfort, thank you. Personally speaking, MfW or any holy silence is to exercize my 'trust muscle'. For me, this trust is key and allows me to let go and experience light and love. I say this as I view trust as being a large part of any love relationship, my main one being in my vocabulary, God. Plainly put, I experience time, space and emotional place for that still small voice. I know I am to listen and just BE, but often I find once the mundane thoughts simmer down, an internal dialogue some times remains with this voice. Some times thoughts, verses or clarity on some ordinary problem will come forth. Other times, I just experience a peace that cannot be taken away by the world and room to breathe. I am lifted up and refreshed like water flowing over me. My initial apprehension is gone. It still takes a bit of courage for me every time, but the end result is worth the effort.

Simon Heywood said...

When it works it makes me feel very small and takes me into a region of pure life beyond words and reason where I don't go often enough. When it doesn't work my mind wanders, sometimes towards sleep.