Into the Silent Land


Certainly there is deep conversion, healing, and unspeakable wholeness to be discovered along the contemplative path. The paradox, however, is that the healing is revealed when we discover that our wound and the wound of God are one wound. The poet Geoffrey Hill explores this with searing economy in the final section of “The Pentecost Castle”:

I shall go down

to the lovers’ well

and wash this wound

that will not heal


beloved soul

what shall you see

nothing at all

yet eye to eye


depths of non-being

perhaps too clear

my desire dying

as I desire.


Silence lays bare this wound that seems to be with us for life and brings us face to face, “eye to eye” with what feels like nothing at all. In this spaciousness we wash in “the lovers’ well” and discover that what may strike the senses as nothing at all, is paradoxically an overflowing fullness, what Geoffrey Hill calls “an emptiness ever thronging.” Silence alone will lead us to this discovery.


pages 118-119 From Martin Laird’s book, Into the Silent Land

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