The Awareness of Presence
Silence is not merely the absence of internal and external noise. Within the stillness arises our awareness of presence.
We can feel presence in an empty cathedral,
or standing in a mountain forest,
or in an open meadow at sunset
as the stars begin twinkling
while the echo of whip-o-will
dances across the woodland valley.
This silence soaks us with a stillness that allows us to become aware of the presence of eternity behind everything around us. Behind everything we see. Like pinpricks of light breaking through.
When I was five, I would stand out on the wide-open hillsides, gazing up at the stars with the moon shining over my shoulder...my heart would expand and soak in the presence of eternity.
God is all around us. Silence allows us to become aware in the stillness, of God's presence.
Another time we were flying into Jackson Hole. The airport is in the middle of Grand Tetons National Park. We were off-boarding the plane, stepping onto the tarmac, when the vast silence enveloped me. I broke down and wept. I was home.
In the Celtic lands, these are called thin places. The silence brings us into a stillness where we are able to become aware of the presence of eternity all around us. An awareness of seeing that everything is connected, everything is interwoven, and everything belongs.
Silence brings me to our senses, and stillness brings me home.
He leads me beside the still waters,
He restores my soul.