From the upcoming book “Jewels in Heaven” …

I’ve been studying the names of the Tribes of Israel. Today I was contemplating Issachar. Issachar means ‘reward’. Oh boy, I thought. I love getting greater revelation about my reward! I thought, Lord what will you show me today: Mansions, Cities, Fields? My mind was racing with excitement. Suddenly, the Lord replied with a single word: ‘Silence!’

The word echoed through me (and from my perspective) all of creation around me.

There’s a story of Jesus in a boat with His disciples attempting to cross the Sea of Galilee, when a raging storm came up and the boat started to flounder.  Jesus silenced the storm with a single phrase ‘peace, be still’ (Mark 4:39)

I played the violin in grade school. There’s a moment just after the final note. The song has been building to a loud crescendo. The last note sounds and everyone has silenced their instruments. At that moment, the walls, the floor, the chair you are sitting in are all still vibrating at the frequency of that last note.

That is the experience when Jesus in the back of the boat spoke ‘peace, be still’. That was my experience today when the Lord stopped my excited mental chatter with the one word: ‘Silence!”

Once there was the chatter of my own thoughts. Next, there was complete peace, tranquility, silence and presence. It is in such a moment when you can truly feel the presence of the Lord. His presence is all around you. All of creation still vibrates with the voice that spoke it into existence.

This is my shield and my exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1)

The Christian mystic practice begins with learning to silence all of the inward mental chatter. Through silence you begin to see and hear. You begin to re-tune yourself to the presence of God that is constantly all around you. And yet, a presence we so easily lose awareness of.