When we begin, we are likely to come to meditation with all sorts of expectations. It will bring us peace, help us concentrate better, help us in our personal relationships. But one of the principal things we must learn in meditation is to meditate without expectation. The road we are treading is the path of dispossession. We must learn to let go of our desire for wisdom, for knowledge, for holiness, for whatever. We begin to appreciate the sheer wonder of the experience of prayer itself, the wonder of entering into the limitlessness, the uncharted seas of the divine reality, to describe that for which there are no words available. We being to learn that praying for things is so often indulging our own desires. And we must be very clear about this. We must pass beyond all desire.
We are not meditating in order to get some sort of insight. In fact we are not meditating to gain any possession whatsoever. Now that is a very difficult concept to come to terms with because we are all brought up to be such materialists, such possessors, such controllers. To sit down and to voluntarily make ourselves poor, to dispossess ourselves, as we enter into the presence of God, is such a challenge. For many of us, especially at the beginning, it will seem that the time we spend in mediation is a complete and utter waste of time. You will say, “Now what did I get out of that?” Nothing. “What happened?” Nothing. But it doesn’t matter what happens.
After meditation, “What the Silence Says” by Marie Howe in MAGDALENE:POEMS (New York: Norton, 2018), location 705 in e-book.
What the Silence Says
I know that you think you already know but—
Longer than that.
even longer than that.