The true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a world that bursts into his silence. It is by silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a world of great power, full of the voice of God.
–Thomas Merton, Dialogues with Silence, ed. Jonathan Montaldo (HarperSanFrancisco).
Quoted in “Arcs” PARABOLA, Volume 33, No. 1, Spring 2008: “Silence.”
Fern Valley, CA
Each of us, as we journey through life, has the opportunity to find and
to give his or her unique gift. Whether this gift is quiet or small in the
eyes of the world does not matter at all—not at all; it is through the
finding and the giving that we may come to know the joy that lies
at the center of both the dark times and the light.
—Helen M. Luke was a Jungian counselor, author, and frequent contributor and advisor to PARABOLA. She passed away at her home at the Apple Farm Community in Three Rivers, Michigan on January 6th, 1995, at the age of 90.
Photograph: Hiroshi Yamazaki, The Sun is Longing for the Sea (1978)
The Poet with His Face in His Hands
You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need anymore of that sound.
So if you’re going to do it and can’t
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t
hold it in, at least go by yourself across
the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets
like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you
want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched
by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.
Painting: Prince Eugen, Swedish, 1865-1947, The Cloud, 1896. Oil on canvas, 119 x 109 cm.
Aly’s 7th Birthday