Changes

The prayer of silence, whatever specific form it might take and whatever tradition it is practised in always works from a particular premise: that the truest part of ourselves is found within; and encompassed within that deep part of ourselves is something wiser and older and deeper and better than we are. So I sit in silence. I withdraw from all those things which occupy my everyday life. I try to be as still as possible beside this great well of life and meaning which opens up in the parts of me I am never able to directly observe. When I first started doing this, many, many years ago, I would be engulfed, every time I tried it,  in a sense of peace and wellbeing as I sat beside this deep inner pool; but I have learned to see this experience, attractiveas it is, as a distraction, drawing me away from the pure depths which are my heart's true focus.

Sitting in that place of silence isn't easy. My personality is a complicated web of attitudes and habits and predispositions that don't actually like sitting still for so long, and which conspire to draw me away - back to what they think of as the "real" world, but which I know to be a shadow world of illusion and fantasy and suffering. But with discipline, and by learning a method, it is possible to be still, and, when I do that, something happens. That something isn't conscious and it takes a long time, but as I sit at the edge of the great well of life I am changed. The deep parts of me are healed; old wounds stop weeping and are knit together; long calcified habits and attitudes are dissolved.

I stand up from any session, replace my watch and episcopal ring and glasses and shoes. I pray briefly for myself and for one other person as the Spirit gives guidance. I never feel any different than when I began. But like the tectonic plates shifting beneath a city the great forces which made me and hold me in being are moving. And then, unexpectedly, they shift all at once. It is as though the hard dry parts of me are being soaked and softened. When they have been soaked enough, some of them break away and rise to the surface; they move from my unconscious into my conscious mind and surprise me.

Mostly these things rising to the surface are small and brief. I feel an unexplained descent into tears or laughter, a sudden quick sorrow or anger or obsession as whatever it is briefly passes. Sometimes they are recognisable: I know where they are from and what gave rise to them. Sometimes they are so old and so distorted I have no idea what, or where, or how they arose. And sometimes they are huge. They fill my consciousness and plunge me into unexplained doubts, fears, antagonisms and irrationalities and they take a while to pass. Big or small they are always harbingers of healing. Particularly, they are usually the rising to consciousness of attachments, as these move out of my unconscious mind and away from me forever. None of this is anything to be surprised at or to fear, but it is a reminder that if someone is developing a serious silent practise having a spiritual director who can help with the passage of this inner detritus is essential.

A week or so ago, one of these huge pieces of psychic junk passed from my unconscious, through consciousness and away. A few people were unfortunate enough to know about it. Most didn't. Looking back, I can see that the ennui I felt some months ago with photography and blogging was the foreshadowing of its arrival.

 I had good advice. I watched it go. And awoke this week with a whole slew of longstanding and seriously crippling attachments gone. Last night I lay awake filled with the joy of the healing with which I had been gifted. Filled with gratitude to that great love who is continually calling me into being from that deep still place, beside which I wait, daily, resting in his company.

Comments

Unknown said…
Thank you for this. You are amazing the way you share yourself. I am blessed.
Unknown said…
David Balfour in a very blustery wet Scotland
Merv said…
You are generous with your insight, +Kelvin, to the point of vulnerability.

To quote Melvin from 'As Good As It Gets' - "You make me want to be a better man."