May 18, 2012

That one thing…

Luke 10:41-42

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “…only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

At Sky Farm, I would set the meditation timer on my phone, then just sit. Or kneel. But what then?

During the first few days, these silences were about letting the words drain away—or trying to, anyway. Words about God and prayer and Christianity. Words from books, sermons, blogs, videos, stories, songs, classes, conversations. Millions of words, accrued to me over decades.

Purple flower at Sky Farm

One thing at Sky Farm.

So I tilted my head to one side to let them pour out of my ear and into the ground. I knelt with my forehead to the carpet and let the words fall out the top of my head and disappear into the silence.

Sometimes words are just clutter, something that blocks our view.

In The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton shares this saying from the Verba Seniorum:

“It was said of Abbot Agatho that for three years he carried a stone in his mouth until he learned to be silent.”

It’s not just the words I receive that can be too much, it’s also the words that I offer. At moments it really would help to have a stone in my mouth that prevented me from speaking!

Maybe all this is why the deep silence at Sky Farm felt so necessary to me, so refreshing. Less clutter, and more of the one thing.