GATHERED SILENCE

Here is a project I am currently working on.

What is Gathered Silence?

This is new work, and I am only just beginning.  But somehow I know that much of what we are looking for lies in the Silence of Love.  Can only be found there.  And so I am interested in the practice of Gathered Silence, finding opportunities to experience it and share it with others and with myself.  At present, I am sharing it privately with my own local Quaker Meeting, where, because of the Virus, we meet for half an hour on Zoom every Tuesday morning at 11.00 am, and, more publicly, with my colleagues in the Spirit of Humanity Forum and colleagues in Iceland (sohforum.org).  I am also exploring it with my colleague Scherto Gill in ‘A Narrative of Love’ and her work with the Ubiquity University.

THE STILL POINT

by David Cadman

I want to share with you some thoughts about Silence and Love.

In a way, it is odd to be speaking about Silence, since Silence has no words.  But, because it does not, it can be shared both in intimacy and across great distances, and it can be shared between people who do not even share the same tongue.  

Silence is not the absence of something, rather it is the presence of something, something I can only describe as a deep and divine Love or, perhaps, Loving.

Perhaps it is like the Dark Matter of the Cosmos the spaces between without which nothing is, the comma, the full stop, the pause in the music. What if we were to rest in it, let it gather us in?

A REFLECTION ON WORDS, SILENCE & LOVE

by David Cadman
A Temenos Academy Online Paper
Lent Term 2021

Nearly twenty-five years ago, when I was quite a young man, well, not as old as I am now, in fear and trepidation I gave one of the very few papers I have ever given for a gathering of the Temenos Academy. It was titled Lost for Words, and its premise was that although we are blessed with language, we are also constrained by it:  

The blessings are self evident: language is useful; it gives access to the mundane and the practical; it reveals the marvellous and the poetic. But the constraints, though less obvious, are no less real…and much more dangerous. 

“From our earliest childhood,” I said: 

…we are encouraged to put a name to all that we see. As we grow, more names follow, and names not just for those things that we see or touch but now for all that we feel, until, at last, at the peak, if we try, we can even [give a name to] abstract ideas. Hurrah! Thus, the mind is taught to grasp at experience and clothe it in words…in language. 

I went on to suggest that our language is never entirely our own, but is always governed by those in power. In the Middle Ages it would have been popes, bishops and archbishops; and now it is bankers and investment brokers, so that the language we use is all about prices. 

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