Inner spaces

In meditation one goes into an inner space, within oneself. It is not unlike the wardrobe in C.S.Lewis’s Narnia books which opens into another realm, that of Being itself. As Lao Tzu says, ‘In meditation go deep into the heart’.

When we begin to meditate we are setting out on the journey of a lifetime, what the actress Stephanie Cole in her autobiography, A Passionate Life, describes as ‘the long search to discover what I was born knowing, and forgot – the search for spiritual enlightenment’.

It is important to learn how to be alone. Research has shown that some development of the capacity to be alone is essential if the brain is to function at its best, and if we are to fulfil our potential. It is all too easy for us to become alienated from our own deepest needs and feelings. Maintaining contact with our own inner world is facilitated by our capacity to be alone.

By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive to what comes to the surface, whether positive or negative, we begin to understand what Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude:

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.

‘Our real journey in life is interior,’ wrote Thomas Merton. ‘It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary for us to respond to that action.’


One thought on “Inner spaces”

  1. That keeping quiet and being alone reminds me of Eliot’s Four Quartets.”I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope…without love…without thought…so the darkness shall be light, and the stillness dancing.” That place of solitude, keeping quiet and being alone, from where to discover our deepest needs and feelings, by Eliot’s imagination, “you must go through [by] the way which you are not.” “All that we know is what we do not know.” Such is the silence. We keep the silence because we know nothing about our centre, and know that we know nothing, “abandon all hope, ye who enter here;” only accepting our ignorance, can we listen to the silent silence. (The Wasteland) Merton’s surrender to love and grace, for Eliot, comes when we abandon love and grace in our silence. At the centre, Eliot imagines, is the dance. “Except for the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance.” In another imagination, Shiva is the centre, all the spinning activity of the world flying around him, all of it which he alone creates and destroys, Shiva held motionless yet obviously dancing. For Eliot, “at the still point, there the dance is, but neither arrest nor movement.” Through this blog today and going to Eliot today, I am led to the inner place where I am reminded that I feel most true to life, in the place of silence, unknowing, noise gone, alone as when I die. To achieve silence, I abandon any notion of love and hope and faith, and in that silence I am loved yet am not loved.

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