— w.i.p. Cat Charissage, (c) 2013
The painting with this post is only half done, just after putting the veil of a glaze over what I had painted. I thought it fitting for this article, as I do believe that though we see through a veil, there is much behind it, AND there is much more to learn. I often laugh that forty years ago I knew a whole lot more about the mystery we call God than I do today. But that’s okay. Whatever is here, now, is alive and growing into something even more beautiful, just like the vines in my painting.
Also, an invitation to come to my “What I learned at Wounded Healer with Dr. E” event, here in my home studio, on Thursday June 30. Email me for more info.
With much love,
Praying When God is Silent, Part Three
Short, small phrases, easy enough to align with our breathing are helpful in calming monkey mind. One line of a favorite hymn or prayer can be used, or if this is too painful while experiencing God’s silence, you can create your own: “Open to mystery, open to love,” “I live with love,” “in darkness, bring light,” “in doubt, faith,” “in despair, hope.” The rhythm and repetition of these short prayers is calming to our neurological systems. They are also an ongoing reminder of our intent.
And then there is silence. When our friends are bereaved, there is often nothing we can say that will help. Our presence, though, is witness and comfort. We can sit in silence for 10 or 20 minutes a day, focusing on a word, on a short prayer, or on our breath, and whenever our mind wanders we calmly and gently bring our attention back to the word or breath. We can listen for the word from within, or we can listen to the silence. The silence can become a refuge.
When God is silent we are left alone, whether in feeling or in fact. What should we or can we do now? We can discover how other people have dealt with this; we can look for metaphors that may help. We can struggle to examine our own lives and actions; we can face the fears and despair. We can write all this down in a journal, or we can speak of this with a soul friend. We can treat ourselves with the kind of love we search for in God, and we can develop other practices for calming ourselves and keeping our loving intent before us. And there is a kind of silence that can become a refuge.
Sometimes God’s silence in our lives is a temporary rough spot; sometimes it seems to have become our new way of life. Why is God silent? There is no answer to that question. The only helpful questions are “How am I going to live now — with love? In my depths, with whom will I live — with love?”
Yes, I will live with love.