Within silence we can find stillness. I am not still. My mood is agitated, often fearful. I know that I need to find a way, the way, to live into a consciousness of the compassionate heart. I have spent many years putting the needs of my family before my own. But we are called during the season of Lent to self-examination. All I see is lack: lack of compassion, lack of patience, lack of speaking kindly when I most need to do so.
Recently I participated in a silent retreat with my DOK sisters. I thought deeply about these things. My journal was busy. Mostly I sat in half-lotus for up to an hour at a time, and focused at the tisra til, the spot between the eyes where there is no thought, only darkness.
I followed a yogic spiritual practice for many years which taught me how to sit in that darkness and stillness. After a time, flashes of light, not unlike the colored lights which decorate a Christmas tree, appear. As one goes even deeper, the sounds of flute-like instruments are heard. This practice is referred to as “dying while living.” It brings one into a closer presence of God, at least that is my experience.
When I get that deeply into meditation, I have no conscious thought. I listen. I absorb the presence of the Holy Spirit. No expectations of clarity or direct answers. But always a certain realization results. That day, it was the compassionate heart.
I am blessed to be surrounded by these extraordinary women. They shore me up. They do not gossip or otherwise share what is spoken amongst the membership. That pastoral seal is foremost.
I came away from the retreat with more questions than answers. More work to do for my Lenten journey.
“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord…”