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from A Way to God for Today by Anthony De Mello . . .
If you ever come to union with God, you must pass through silence. Any way to God must be a way through silence. Silence means going beyond words and thoughts.
The first thing you need to do to attain the silence that reaches God is to realize that your ideas of God are all inadequate.
God isn’t anything like you think or imagine. God cannot be described. For example, suppose that I’d never smelt a rose before and I asked you what does the fragrance of a rose smell like. Could you describe it for me?
Of course not.
Well, if you cannot describe a simple thing like the fragrance of the rose, how could you describe the Almighty. Whatever words you would use would fall short. Any image that your mind makes will be more unlike God than like God. The experience of God is totally beyond description or imagination.
So, the first thing to acknowledge is that your ideas of God are all inadequate.
The second thing you need to do if you want to attain silence is simply look, listen, hear, and see. That’s all you need to do. Let me explain that.
Mystics say, God dances the world. Think of a dancer and her dance. Each is not the same as the other, and yet neither are they divided in two. In truth, they are one. A great theologian once said that God is in creation the way the voice of a singer is in a song. But we miss this, don’t we. For example, suppose I were to sing “ ♪Nearer, my God, to thee♪”. You’ve got my voice, you’ve got the song, and both are so intimately connected. Imagine that you are listening to the song but you don’t hear the voice. Imagine that you are looking at the dance and you don’t see the dancer. It is strange to think of seeing the dance but not recognizing the dancer, and yet that is exactly what happens when we go looking for God.
Imagine that I am looking at a sunset, enraptured, and a man comes to me and says, “You seem so enthralled. What are you looking at?”
I answer, “I’m overtaken by beauty.”
And the man says, “I want that feeling too.” So he comes every day to at evening to that spot to look for beauty. He looks and looks and he can see the sun, he can see the colors and the shimmering of light on the water, but not beauty.
“Where is beauty?” he demands. “Where?” He doesn’t realize that beauty isn’t a thing. He doesn’t understand that beauty is a way of looking at things. “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly,” says the fox to Prince in the book The Little Prince. “What is essential,” the fox says, “is invisible to the eye.”
That is what you need; you need heart hearing, heart seeing for union with God, not words. The Gospel says, “He was in the world for the world was created by Him but the world did not recognize Him.” Look at creation, just look. Don’t look at ideas, look at creation itself. Just observe and become quiet. Hopefully it will be given to you through grace that as you look, silence will overtake you and then you will see. Look at the dance and hopefully you will recognize the dancer.
If you would look maybe you will recognize.