This article appeared in a Unity pamphlet called Book of Silent Prayer.
There are many kinds of silence.
There is the drowsy silence of the noonday fields. There is the restless silence of the sleeping city. There is the silence of grief too deep for tears, the silence of joy too full for laughter. The movement of the heavens and the growth of living things are silent.
There is the silence of human thought.
But deeper is the silence of the place of peace within you. Deeper is the silence where you commune with God. In the silence is strength for the tired body. In the silence is light for the joyless mind. In the silence is love for the lonely spirit. In the silence is peace for the troubled heart. There, workaday worries fade away. There, the whole being becomes a place of prayer, a holy temple set on a hill. There, you know God as a living presence and yourself as God's child.
The silence is a holy place, a place of stillness and peace. It is not far away. It is right where you are now. It is right where you are whenever you shut the doors of your senses, still the importuning of your thoughts, and turn to God. When you enter, the world outside and its troubles melt away; when you leave, your body and mind are stilled, refreshed and restored.
Some people link the silence with occultism and look for fantastic psychic experiences from it. The purpose of the silence, however, is not for you to have visions or to see colored lights. Such experiences will only distract you from the true purpose of the silence, which is awareness of God.
Experiencing the Silence
In preparing to experience the silence, try to relax your body and open your mind. Remember, you cannot fight your way through to God; you can only let go and let God.
As you quiet yourself, feel the presence of God freeing you from tension. Let your whole body—every nerve, every muscle, every cell—relax and let go. Wherever you feel any tension, relax and let go. If you feel tense across your forehead, say “Relax and let go.” If your eyes feel strained, say “Relax and let go.” If you are tense in any part of your body, say “Relax and let go,” until, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, you are perfectly relaxed. This is the first step in experiencing the silence.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Ps. 46:10) Say this silently until the words take on new meaning, a living meaning, and you feel the stillness with your whole mind, your whole being.
This is the second step in experiencing the silence, and perhaps the most important. In the stillness, when your thoughts and feelings are quieted and the doors of your senses are shut, feel your unity with God. It is not through your human powers or understanding that you find the blessings of God, but by letting go of your doubts, by limiting your personal claims, and by turning your whole attention to God.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” Let this thought fill your mind completely. Be comfortable, relaxed and still. You are in the presence of God.
A Better Way
In experiencing the silence, you may find using affirmations helpful. They may help you direct your thoughts to God. But, as you do, do not lose sight of the fact there is a surer speech than that of syllables, a higher communion than that of words.
God hears your innermost thoughts. Your faith and love speak for you, helping you experience your oneness with God. Your faith and love make your mind God's mind, your body God's body, your spirit God's spirit, your life God's life, and your will God's will.
Remember, friend, you do not have to cajole or coerce God; God's love has already encompassed the fulfillment of your needs.
Using Affirmative Thoughts
When you enter the silence, let your affirmations help change you. Use them to direct your thoughts, to make them clear and sharp; then be still and listen. It is God's voice that you wish to hear.
In the silence now, use the following affirmative thoughts to help you experience the presence of God as fully as you can.
I am the light of the world. Be still until you actually sense the light of Spirit flowing through you and over you. Be still until you feel yourself immersed in a sea of light, until you feel your whole being illumined and uplifted.
I have divine intelligence. The mind of God is a reservoir of good ideas that are yours to draw upon, yours to use. Open your mind to the inspiration of God. You are alive, awake, alert, joyous and enthusiastic. You have divine intelligence.
I see with the eyes of Spirit. Let your eyes be the watchful servants of your mind, which sees only the perfection of Spirit. Let all sense of tension or fatigue be washed away from your eyes by the flow of divine energy. They are strong, clear-seeing eyes. Your spiritual vision, too, is renewed. You see the truth more clearly. You see with the eyes of Spirit.
All power is given to me in mind and body. Feel the power of God working through you to free you from any negative influence. You are a child of God. You have the power to control your thoughts, to revitalize your body, to be successful, and to bless others. Unleash the power within your mind and body.
I am free and unlimited. You are free with the freedom of Spirit. Negative conditions have no power over you. You are one with the Christ, for you are a child of the living God. You are poised, free and unlimited.
I am strong in God and in the power of God's might. Feel the strength of God pouring through you, strengthening every part of your body temple. You are no longer bowed by burdens—your own, your family's, or the world's. You are free, poised, lighthearted, and you face life confidently, strong in God and in the power of God's might.
I am the perfect expression of God's love. Love transforms. Let love fill your heart with harmony. Let love fill your mind with kind, helpful thoughts. Let love fill your lips with words of praise and cheer. Let love fill your life to overflowing with happiness and peace. Love transforms. Whatever the need or problem, divine love is the answer—and you are the perfect expression of divine love.
Divine order is established in my mind and body. Now you are in harmony with the law of God as it governs and guides you. It is active in your mind, harmonizing your thoughts. It is active in your body, adjusting its functions. It is active in your life, establishing peace, success and joy. Divine order is established in your mind and body.
I am alive forever in the Christ. You have entered the secret place of life. Life fills your mind, flows through your veins, and permeates your tissues. Your eyes shine, your skin glows, your faculties are sharpened, your whole body radiates health. You are one with life, the Christ life, ever-renewing life. You are alive forever in the Christ.
I walk in paths of righteousness and peace. The strength and swiftness of God make your way easy. The light of God's intelligence shines around you so that your way is made plain. God's spirit goes before you so that your way is made successful. God's way for you is joyous, safe and secure. You walk in paths of righteousness and peace.
Your Oneness With God
Now out of the stillness comes the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 RSV), not a human voice speaking, but the voice of God, which speaks as an inner knowing, a strong conviction, and carries to your listening heart the assurance that all is well.
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” (Mt. 7:7). You have asked, and blessings are freely coming to you. You have searched, and the way to perfection is being revealed. You have knocked, and the doors of the kingdom are open. Fulfillment is yours. The power to bless others is yours.
God bless you, friend, as you enter the silence and experience the joy of being in the presence of God.