Themes that I have been pondering for some time now have been thinking, silence, inner life, longing and the experience of God in our lives. A few years ago I had a kind of awakening that changed my perspectives completely and transformed my understanding. It had to do with the understanding of my thinking mind.
Gradually I started believing and then realizing that I was not my thoughts. This meant that my truest being was not to be found in my head or in the thoughts of my mind. I realized that the “me” observing my mind’s thinking was closer to my deepest self. Instead of letting thoughts define me and everything, I could step back and watch and observe “my” thinking.
Realizing I were not my thoughts was a deeply freeing experience. So for me this newfound knowledge became one of the keys to my heart and my further journey on my quest to know truth and experience God.
This fall I have started more seriously to practice times of silence especially in the mornings before I go to work or start my day. This I believe is another key that can open doors into my heart and open myself to the very life of God within me.
Some Christians experience fear and may worry that some of us are too influenced by other religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism. For my part I am not so scared anymore of this influence (if that’s what it is) since I in walking the contemplative path find much in common between the world’s religions. Still, some people are afraid that silent prayer will become a practice where you try to empty your mind from thoughts. So for some it feels safer to only practice praying with words, or meditate upon the Scripture in a Lectio-Divina-way. For others, and even for me as a Christian. there are many forms of prayer. And at times it may be similar to Hindu or Buddhist meditation, which I believe is not so much about emptying the mind, but rather a going-behind-the-thoughts and letting-go-of-thoughts.
Our minds can create beatiful pictures and thoughts, but at other times our minds delve into worry, self-defeating thougths and darkness. That’s why the truth that I-am-not-my-thinking created so much freedom in my life. This truth made me desire to go deeper, behind the thoughts, and in times of silence, to surrender myself to the deeper life of God.
Interestingly the wellknown verse in the Psalms that sometimes has been quoted “Be still, I know that I am God”, is not so much asking us directly to be silent, but rather to “let go”. So for me, these times of silence, can also be times where I let go of the thoughts created by my mind, and just open up to and surrender to the silence.
I believe that sitting in silence for a few minutes is a way of opening to a deeper experience of God’s love. I may not experience that much in the silence other than at times a kind of rest, but I believe the silence is working in me and expanding a space within me. I believe the silence may prepare me and help me to experience a deeper closeness to God throughout my day.
Sitting in silence, I believe, is another key to opening to the love of God. The silence expands and opens our hearts so we may reach within to our deepest selves beyond all thoughts, and even find God’s Spirit within. Augustin speaks of this in his Confessions when he talks about his search for God. He was searching outside himself, when God was to be found within.
So what I am trying to say, is that these keys that I have found may also help you. Realizing what the thinking mind is and is not and spending a few minutes every day alone in silence may help you connect and open up to the life of God within. A few moments and minutes could be all that is needed for you to find your own heart. And when you do find your heart, in silence, I believe that is also where you find God. Or is it the God that finds you?
Please feel free to comment and respond here and share your thoughts about keys to our and God’s heart.