I am listening God.
Silence. Then, like a stampede of elephants my thoughts crowd and crush through my mind demanding I attend to urgent matters and trivial ones. Holding the mind still enough for long enough to listen is hard. As external processors perhaps it is only in the engaging of our thoughts that we can hold and develop them. The thoughts come one at a time in this way, the next only appearing once the first has been captured.
In my mind is this image, that as the stampede passes there is left behind in the elephant's path a small creature, shy and unassertive standing and waiting; ready to be listened to but not demanding. Lean in and listen.
Do I need ask questions or require answers? How will it know what to say?
A voice comes. It doesn't come from the creature but it can only be heard when I lean in to the thing. The voice comes out of the air in between the air, around the creature. The voice fills the room yet it isn't loud. It is thick and near, full even but not loud. Once I'm close enough to hear it there is no unhearing it or even avoiding it. It says simply: "I am the speaking one."
"I am the speaking the one," it says again "are you a listening one?"
"I am," I say
And implicit in the word 'listen' is the multitude of ways I am to listen; the air, the earth, the word, the Spirit, the saints. It's as though it says 'listen, listen to them all and hear me'. I breathe in deeply and hear only my breath, I listen to the life force in my body, the energy that is distinct from my brain and heart and blood. There is a peace and a strength that is heard in my stillness but yet is also distinct from it, the source of it perhaps. Yahweh. In the stillness I hear; Yahweh is there. He is God and he is speaking.
The creature in the room suddenly springs into life. It leaps against the wall and then onto the ceiling and to the other side of the room. It continues doing this over and over and gradually it gets faster and faster until it is a blur or movement. I am fixated on it, following its every moment, focusing so precisely that I barely notice my surroundings change.
Now I am above the earth but not alone. The Speaking One is with me, I sense his strength. All around me is black and stars with the great blue planet below, and it is then that I see, then that I understand. The atmosphere around me seems charged with energy but as I lean in I notice the air particles or atoms or I don't know what, begin to move. It is the space between the spaces, the veil perhaps between our space and His. The movement is a stream and a ribbon of what can only be described as words and sentences. Constantly moving like a roll of film tapering around and down and back and forth to the earth, from the earth, into space and back. Back, all of it back and forth, from some unseen centre and source.
"I am the speaking One" I hear again, "Are you a listening one? Are you, therefore a seeing one? Listen, and in listening see. Hear and see my work in the the world. Know I am near and present."
I am back panting on my knees in a heap in the old room of my mind. There is calm. I will be a listening one and I will speak for and about the Speaking One.
This is the reparative work of solitude. We withdraw; in order to return.