by Amos Smith
A number of my peers are devoted to fishing and sailing.
I’m convinced the primary motivation for these activities is an excuse to do nothing – to just sit waiting for a bite – to just get carried by the wind. Rarely, in our industrialized world, are we afforded the time required for our minds to still – to settle into the desert quiet that fertilized the minds of the prophets – the minds of shepherds like David who wrote “God leads me beside still waters. God restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2-3).
Christian tradition, especially Protestant tradition, emphasizes revelation from scripture. Yet, at its root, revelation in scripture begins with silence. Silence is the fertile soil where God’s word originates. To discover the revelations of scripture we expose ourselves to scripture. To discover the revelations of silence, we expose ourselves to silence.
In silence there is revelation – revelation about ourselves. We come to the frontiers of silence and we find a number of things. Some feel discomfort, some anxiety, some feel tension in their bodies, and still others feel emotional turmoil. And most will discover above all else the wondering monkey mind and how difficult it is to still it. What we experience reveals something about our nature. The revelation of the wandering monkey mind is itself a great gift of awareness.
When our mind finally stills and enters deep silences we come to understand more and more about ourselves.