Pierre Lacout, wrote in 'God is Silence', "words divide, silence unites" setting this in an extended meditation on the power of silence in the spiritual life. Words have an enchanting power to unite, one hopes for a good and life giving purpose. During the winter month of July I have been leading four hour meditation sessions at the Oasis, the interfaith chaplaincy centre at Flinders University. Despite the cold cutting wind cutting through the breezeways at the University set on a hill overlooking the wider metropolitan city of Adelaide the warmth at the Oasis was warm and inviting. Taking the journey into silence with faculty and students generated a powerful healing energy for me as I 'took the wheel' so to speak as the facilitator standing in for one of the chaplains away on maternity leave. I have been left with a beautiful momento in the shape of a box with feathers and a stone or two and a card. It will be a reminder of four epic journeys into silence, space, healing and discovery
One of the insights generated by Neuro Lingustic Programming as it tracked 'wizards' of communicating genius is the sheer power of language spoken internally and externally in shaping our experience of being in the world. Coupled with research into hypnosis, through the genius of people like Milton Erikson stories and phrases that generate trance offers an individual room to explore their internal world. At Flinders University I used some traditional myths to invite those present in the room the ability to generate visualisations and internal sensory representations that served their wellness and flourishing in the world. I did some preparation before but for me the meditations seemed to just unfold at their own pace and in their own way. It's like presenting a reflection with a congregation that you feel to be on the same wave length or a deeply gathered Quaker meeting where words and images come clearly into awareness. There is kind of spirit guiding those words that seem to arise from beyond the ability of the leader. There is a greater guidance and I feel the pulse of energy flowing in the room.
Strangely silence is created by the spoken word, the cadence of the spoken phrases, the connection between the ideas presented and there is a strangeness about this experience since the wording is unlike normal discourse. Fluffy phrases, vagueness, evocative, words that double back on themselves or that have a range of possible meanings, far from confusing open a deeper consciousness within the room provided that the hearer feels they have choices to participate and trust the leader.
Silence in this human experience is framed by words and ideas where the soul seems to drop way beyond the words into a deeper and deeper relaxation where the Great Spirit can work. 'Yes' words can unite and that is indeed their danger. Choose your enchantment carefully.