ALONENESS

KELVIN WRIGHT, Bishop of Dunedin, is a photographer and a disciple who appreciates times of silence, contemplation and reflection. He’s also a blogger, so though he’s in New Zealand and I’m in the UK we share a thing or two in common. He’s most recently posted “SILENCE” a snippet of which is hereunder, together with a link to the whole piece:

It was the silence of aloneness; the silence of being in a place where there was no-one to talk to and nothing happening that required much thinking about so my mind was free to wander about like a pet dog let loose, sniffing here and there with all the semblance but none of the reality of purposefulness. This was a silence that was nevertheless full of words. I mused over the ever shifting balance of sand, and on the patterns of it flying around my ankles. I looked at the olive green sea with its millions of tons of shifting water, and the millions more tons of water sitting above me in the gray clouds, sucked up into the air by the sun, only to fall back down around me and move the sand some more. I thought about impermanence and change, and Heraclitus who made a philosophy out of that, and  a line from a song by Jewel in which she says that everything is temporary if you give it enough time. I felt the sand give beneath my shoes and looked at the dunes and the dense packed surface beneath me and remembered that there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth and thought briefly of that immensity of which  I was currently traversing some tiny pin prick sized corner.

via Available Light.

This caught my eye because it speaks – very eloquently – of a silence that is nonetheless filled with words – and it’s important to recognise that there are as many kinds of silence as there are languages. Some silence is full of words. Other silence has no word at all. Some silence affords reflection, some affords projection, and some affords contemplation. Some silence affords a bit of any or all of these, and more. And none of this is to suggest that ordinary, shared, non-silent daily life has nothing to teach us, nothing sustaining, nothing of prayer. But there is, in some people, a degree of fear of silence and aloneness. And that’s a shame, I think, because there’s something truly life-enhancing about finding oneself “free to wander about like a pet dog let loose, sniffing here and there” … and I’m hoping for a bit of just that in the next few weeks …

see also Monthly Meditation