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Do you want to change the world? Then change yourself first. Do you want to change yourself? Then remain completely silent inside the silence-sea.

Sri Chinmoy

I wrote in a previous post that I was liberated by the discovery of 'noisy prayer' - it was the beginning of an ongoing exploration of the breadth and depth of prayer that continues to this day and has changed me, helping me grow in my apprehension of the Divine and to deepen my sense of well-being and place in the world. 

It was only after being freed of the burden of a 'quiet time', the prayer shibboleth of my youth, that I began to appreciate, and feel comfortable with silence. This went alongside growing understanding of prayer being an attitude rather than a method, prayer can be a part of listening to music, or others praying, or joining in with others in praying out loud or using liturgy to guide our prayers. We can also wash dishes, or garden, or walk, or dance, or sing prayerfully. 

And we can enter into silence. And, not or. 

It is said that Mother Theresa (now Saint Theresa of Calcutta) was once asked what she did when she prayed, her response was 'I listen.' The interviewer then asked what God does when she is praying, and she responded 'God listens too.' 

Like every form of prayer, silent prayer can take different forms. Concentrating on our breath, seeking to clear our minds, taking note of the thoughts which surface as we sit, silently reciting a mantra, or a prayer, or a verse of scripture. In all of these I find I can allow the busyness, the noise, the distractios of the the world slip away, if only for a short while, and feel connected both with myself and with the Divine. 

Psalm 131

  O Lord, my heart is not proud; 
   my eyes are not raised in haughty looks.
  I do not occupy myself with great matters, 
   with things that are too high for me.
  But I have quieted and stilled my soul,
      like a weaned child on its mother’s breast; 
   so my soul is quieted within me.
  O Israel, trust in the Lord, 
   from this time forth for evermore.