Journey to the Divine Within through Silence, Stillness and Simplicity shares, through the reflections of a variety of spiritual writers, how to enter the realm of one’s heart. One way that this occurs is through silence, stillness, and simplicity. When pondered, the reflections will lead readers to the silence and stillness of their own hearts on the path to encountering the Life, Light, and Love within. The book has something to offer to both beginners and seasoned pilgrims on their contemplative journey.
Below are two excerpts from the Introduction to Journey to the Divine Within through Silence, Stillness and Simplicity.
The Divine Within
Understood by various religions and experienced by mystics, beyond everything that exists is an eternal Divine Being – One in whom all things exist. This Being – God, Brahman, universal Consciousness, the absolute Reality, the Source of all, the true Self, the ground of one’s being, the divine Mystery, and so forth – is both immanent and transcendent. The power and majesty of this One are beyond grasp. This Divine Oneness penetrates the entire universe, being present within everything. All things, animate and inanimate, originate from and exist in God. Physical realities veil this one ultimate transcendent Reality, yet are manifestations of it. Because the One is all that exists, all created forms are connected to God and also mutually interconnected.
Humankind was created as a vessel to receive the Divine, that spiritual Light which pervades the universe. Every man and woman bears the image of God and carries the omnipresent God-life in the sanctuary of their heart. In the Hindu tradition, the Upanishads refer to the spirit of the One who created the universe as dwelling in a person’s heart. This divine aspect within each person – also referred to as the soul – is understood as the source of infinite love within us.
According to Christian understanding based on the New Testament, the Spirit of God – the life and love of God – is found in the heart. Romans 5:5 states: “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”. According to Galatians 4:6: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’”. Also, the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians that God “put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Finally, Luke records Jesus saying when asked when the kingdom of God would come: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). [Emphasis ours.]
Silence, Stillness and Simplicity — and the Prayer of the Heart
In the prayer of the heart, silence, stillness, and simplicity facilitate the journey into the dimension of the heart, where divine life, light, and love dwells.
Silence is absence of sounds which continually invade our lives such as traffic noises, television, radio, phones, and people coming and going. Within our minds are also voices of anxieties, fears and worries. When we retreat to a silent setting, the external noises diminish. This becomes conducive to quieting the mind from its constant cares and concerns. An inner calm and tranquility begin to arise.
Stillness can be linked with absence of activity. With a hectic pace of life, we may have competing commitments and obligations. Internally may be contending voices of “should do” and “must do”. Stillness can be experienced in solitude, in a place with minimal activity. This is favorable for both body and mind becoming still. Through outer stillness we start to experience an inner stillness – the ability to remain calm, peaceful, and centered, and to later maintain this equanimity amidst daily hustle and bustle.
Simplicity can help achieve, as well as emerges from, the experience of silence and stillness. Externally, we try to limit unnecessary noise, activities, and distractions in life’s routines. Internally, simplicity involves changing our habitual self-conscious and self-reflective states. We learn to sustain attention away from the self (ego) and to understand our true Self as inseparable from God. We recognize the tyranny of the ego that wants to continually compare, judge, possess, and control. This awareness lessens yielding to the ego’s demands and leads to increased freedom from complexity and pretentiousness. Masks worn to impress others are gradually taken off, resulting in greater ease and naturalness. As a result, we become simpler in our approach to life, kinder to ourselves, and more compassionate toward others. Simplicity also reflects itself in an ordered and uncluttered living environment.
In addition to discipline, our part in the prayer of the heart is faith – entering the stillness and silence of the heart with the assurance that Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts (John 16:7; Romans 5:5). In doing so, we leave our human ego-consciousness with its thinking and analysis behind, and by faith enter into the mystery of God. (Of course, there is a place for a healthy ego.) It is a journey into a “beyond” that is infinite in its scope – a journey to the heart of God. We then allow God to work in the soul according to his grace.
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A colour edition of Journey to the Divine Within through Silence, Stillness and Simplicity is also available.
See also the book’s companion website Prayer of the Heart, which contains the text of the book, Journey to the Divine Within through Silence, Stillness and Simplicity, as well as inspiring colour pictures. There are also several galleries featuring beautiful nature photos to help quieten one’s mind or to simply relax and enjoy.
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