Hearing in silence.
Somebody commented on my post about learning from other religious perspectives asking me to say something about the concept of quiet, and since I'm up at 7 am with a serious case of jet lag, I think I will approach that topic now that I've had a bit of time to decompress.
I'm still proceessing this whole experience, but one of the things that I've been thinking about in retrospect is this idea of listening through silence. We had an experience at a Taize service, as Lydia mentioned in a previous post, where we simply sat silently for 20 minutes. Beau shared that he had experienced a very meaningful vision during that time. I had a moment of, shall we say, comprehension. At first, my thoughts were wandering to how tired and hungry I was, and how my feet were cold, but as the silence wore on, my brain stopped and in those moments of silence, I was able to really hear what God wanted from me. In that case, it was forgiveness of somebody who has hurt me quite a bit, and I wept thinking about how selfish my petty grudge was. At the same time, I felt God's immense forgiveness, and that was very, very meaningful for me. It took that moment of my brain shutting up for me to hear what I needed at that time.
But silence doesn't always come in the form of meditation. Sometimes it's just pure exhaustion, when your brain can no longer function due to lack of sleep. After about 25 hours awake yesterday, I called my mom in an attempt to stay awake for just another hour or so to avoid jet lag (ha, nice try), and found myself rambling and sharing about things that struck me that I hadn't even realized. I was too tired to filter through things and was able to halt, to some extent, my processsing, and just let it all come out.
Quiet came for us in the beauty of nature, and in the noise of traffic, and the laughter of a group making silly comments, and I personally felt connected with God in a way that I haven't felt in a while. Silence isn't so much a state of the world outside, but the world inside. As the Buddhist seeks to shun desires, so we sometimes need to stop worrying about analyzing and judging and thinking so darn much about what we see and just experience it in order to find what God is trying to give to us. Hopefully I can shut myself up some more in the days to come to truly learn what this trip was for me.