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August 12, 2012

Undecorated

(Irony alert! I’m about to use words to describe the wordless.)

When I went to Sky Farm in April, I was afraid God wouldn’t meet me there, and in a way, God didn’t. I arrived uncomfortably full of other people’s words about God. I needed interior privacy, a time to let other people’s ideas wait outside.

The pond at Sky Farm“I needed the silence to be deafening,” Jennifer Knapp once said in an interview, and I can relate. (I wish the interviewer had asked her more about that silence.)

Part of me was ready to abandon the whole idea of a God who can be known. What are we playing at, hanging words all over God?

Maybe arriving with that question is what opened me to the one who did meet me at Sky Farm: the Great One, plain and powerful. A silent and undecorated presence, pouring out life—life that includes death.

Near this presence, I knew myself to be loved. And I noticed how much clutter I bring to the encounters that present themselves to my unseeing eyes every day—things I saw so naked and large and heavy at Sky Farm.

The deepest clutter in my everyday life isn’t my material possessions, it’s my words and habits of thought. I realized how far I am from simplicity, from an uncomplicated ability to give and receive love, from the transparency of having no clutter, like the birds at Sky Farm.

In the meditation garden at Sky Farm

In Sky Farm’s meditation garden

~ ~

I wonder if a thunderous silence rolls right out of the heart of God—an enormous, slow wave that deafens us to the superfluous when we are caught in its path.

The silence flows beneath all of creation, and someday it will overwhelm me and pull me under for good, whether I’m ready or not.

It will submerge me, along with all my words.

One Comment on “Undecorated

Dana
August 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

That clutter is exactly right. It’s the clutter of habits of thought and ways of expressing things (words, yes).Habits of talking…”did I just say that to my son? that’s not what I meant at all. But it comes out.” And that clutter seems exacerbated by physical clutter–all that stuff that surrounds us and gets us to think about it, spend our time fixing it or rearranging it or sorting it. When we went away, the lack of STUFF also led to more time to think, and the change of place led to different habits of thought. (Or a wish to return to the old comfortable ones, sometimes.) Now that we’re back, I can see myself resisting returning to the same old ways…and I cannot decide if throwing things out (reducing physical clutter) will help me be open/creative/observant or if doing that is just actually falling into the trap of the stuff again. This is all a very mundane example of what you’re talking about. I could glimpse some of what you meant by greatness, silence, wholeness in England when I saw a young bull, just being there, or rode through a fen and heard the birds, or just sat in an orchard for a long while, sometimes with a pad of paper and a pen, but sometimes not. I hope I find more moments like that here in LA. So I remember, know, feel what’s important and real and matters at some deeper level. The place shouldn’t matter, but it does. We become our environment?

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