Friday, February 16, 2018


Hi There !

Back in seminary days,

eons and a very different church ago,

we observed "The Great Silence."

That meant complete silence

from Compline ( night prayer)

until after breakfast the next morning.

We ended our day and began the next in silence.

There was a settling to that stretch of stillness.

It was a counterpoint and complement

to the activity and talk of the day.

These days silence and stillness are suspect,

 socially unacceptable.

Silence is being silenced.

We are being "noised" and distracted to death

by surface static.

That deadening kills off free entry

to our Center, Our Still Point.

Our spirits are denied

the spaciousness of still silence,

where we hear more than words.

Still silence allows us to hear

"The Sounds of Silence,"

the deep down sounds of the sacred.

Back in those seminary days,

there were select periods of silence

throughout the day.

They fostered  recollection,

free space to "re"- collect

our often blunted,

at times fractured,

soul sense and attention.

Out here on the street of everyday living

we can have, and greatly need,

our own version and blessing of

The Great Silence,

respites of silent recollection,

an attitude of "whole-ly" quiet.

Here are a few suggested do's and dont's:

   - we do one thing at a time and that with attention -

     if we walk, we walk -  we do not text

     phone, or ear bud music, we walk 100%

     and let it be what it is - if we listen to music,

     we  listen to music, settle into it

     and get completely absorbed

              ( downright counter cultural,

                                   downright necessary )

   - other than when necessary at work,

     we check our emails, voicemails, texts,

     the ticker, news flashes,

     and all their digital cousins

     only after breakfast and then again

     once well before dinner

               ( down right counter cultural,

                                down right necessary )

   - we revisit our visits to Facebook,

     Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and their flood

     of words, images,

     and  too often an unhealthy serving

     of  dulling, distracting  trivia
     We screen screen time

                          ( yep, downright counter cultural,

                                   downright necessary as well to be well )

   - we connect with radio, TV, print selectively ,

     for a purpose, and with complete attention,

     not for distraction and

    a hazing over of our consciousness

    - we free ourselves from every form of

      "Surround Sound" - whatever deafens

      sensitivity of soul, psyche, spirit

   - with a reverence for quiet,

     we dedicate a definite and generous portion

     of time to periods of recollection,

     and our version of

    "The Great Silence":

           - ease into it by slowing

             our pace and intensity

           - that's what we did in the seminary

             as we left church after Compline

             and silently processed to our rooms

             through dimly lit corridors

           - perhaps a warm cup of tea, a slow shower

             would do the gentle slowing for you

           - find a comfortable place and position

           - settle in by paying  relaxed attention

             to your breathing

           - gently draw deep breaths,

             exhale slowly and gently

           - we start where we are: tired, happy,

             confused, depleted, angry, overjoyed

           - we see, feel, "hear" that

           - let it fade and fold into the calm and quiet of

              The Eternal Now.

            - for some, the slow repetition

              of a sacred word or phrase

              settles them into

              the stillness of soul silence.

            - sometimes we muse, ponder, meditate

             - very often we just "be" in Being,

               enfolded into the embrace of Divine Love

We quiet down to be lifted up.

Silence isn't golden.

It's platinum plus!

If you care to, over the next few days

please use the generous portion of

Meditation Markers

that follow to ever more  sensitize

to silence and its sacred spaciousness.

Pick and choose what

speaks silence to your spirit

It might be a helpful  Lent experience.

Lastly, I thank you for being part of

our weekly sharing here at "frankly speaking."

I also thank many of you for your referrals,

for introducing your friends and colleagues

to "frankly speaking."

As I have learned over the past year of this blog,

your introduction of it to others

is the primary way people find out about it

and is the main way our gathering here

is shared with others.

Our sharing here now includes

participants from my homeland

here in the USA

and thirty other countries around

our global community.

I do my best not to get caught up

in the numbers game,

but these numbers do encourage me.

They encourage me

to continue trying  to serve you

by supporting our mutual spiritual journey

out here on the street of everyday living

through "frankly speaking."

Thank you for the trust, company,

the referrals and the encouragement.

See you next week.

For sure, holding each and all in

God's Dear Love,

   John Frank


                 MEDITATION MARKERS

Suggested Approach:

                  In a quiet time and place,

                  outside and inward,

                  reflect on one of these prompts:
                             - what does it mean?

                             - what does that meaning hold for me?

                             - how can I embrace it, live it?


Highly Recommended:

"Endangered Habitat," Why the soul needs silence,

 by Stephanie Bennett is a masterful,

comprehensive study of  how silence

is endangered in our culture

and how silence is essential for

the health of person and society.


simply Google the article by title and author.


From the Sufi Tradition - Rumi

- "Let silence take you to the core of life."

-"Your old life was a frantic running from silence.
   Move out of the tangle of fear-thinking.
   Live in silence"

-"All is known in the sacredness of silence."

-"Last night
   I begged the Wise One to tell me
   the secret of the world.
   Gently, gently, he whispered,
   'Be quiet,
   the secret cannot be spoken.
   It is wrapped in silence.' "

- "Keep silent, because
   the world of silence
   is a vast fullness."

-The Silk Worm

 "I stood before a silk worm one day.
  And that night my heart said to me,
  'I can do things like that,
  I can spin skies.
  I can be woven into love
  that can bring warmth to people:
  I can be soft against a crying face,
  I can be wings that lift,
  and I can travel on my thousand feet
  throughout the earth,
  my sacs filled with the sacred."
  And I replied to my heart,
 'Dear, can you really do all those things?'
 And it just nodded 'Yes' in silence.
 So we began and will never cease."


 From the Buddhist Tradition - Buddha

-"Silence is an empty space,
   space is the home
   of the awakened mind."

-"Do not speak unless
  it improves on silence."

-"Bring your mind to noble silence.
   Unify your mind in noble silence.
   Concentrate your mind in noble silence...
   Enter into pure rapture and pleasure
   born of silence
   derived of concentration and awareness
   that is free from thought and fabrication."


From the Taoist Tradition - Lao Tzu

-"Returning to the source is stillness.
   It is returning to one's fate.
   returning to one's fate is eternal."

-"Attain utmost emptiness.
   Abide in steadfast stillness."

-"A multitude of words is tiresome,
   unlike remaining centered."


 From the Christian Tradition

-"But Jesus often withdrew
   to lonely places to pray."
           Luke 5: 16

-"Now during those days
   he (Jesus) went out
   to the mountain to pray;
   and he spent the night
   in prayer to God."
            Luke 6: 12


From the Hindu Tradition

-"Silence is the first door to spiritual eminence."
               Adi Shankaracharya

-"There is something beyond our mind
   which abides in silence
   within our mind.
   It is the Supreme Mystery
   beyond thought.
   Let one's mind and one's body
   rest upon that
   and not rest
   on anything else,"
               Maitri Upanishad


From the Jewish Tradition

-"Be still and know that I am God."
                Psalm 46:10

-"For thus said the Lord God,
   the Holy One of Israel,
  'In returning and rest
   shall you be saved;
   in quietness and trust
   shall be your strength.' "
                    Isaiah 30:15

-"Be still before the Lord,
   and wait patiently
   for him."
                     Psalm 37:7