Space, Silence, No-thingness, and Spirit

(St Andrews Cathedral)
These stones speak a level language
murmured word by word,
a speech pocked and porous with loss,
and the slow hungers of weathering.
And there, in the broken choir, children
are all raised voice, loving the play of outline
and absence where the dissembled god
has shared his shape and homed us.
At the end of the nave, the east front stands
both altered and unchanged,
its arch like a glottal stop.
And what comes across, half-said
into all that space, is that it’s enough
to love the air we move through.
(by Rachael Boast)

The “air we move through.” That captured my imagination as it brought to mind the notion of “space” that people like Eckhart Tolle and Richard Rohr speak of, words which can be thought of as referring to the domain of “spirit.” For, “space” is the context in which we breath and live but it is a context that is only “there” but we can never apprehend it with our rational mind. It is the foundation of this ephemeral world that we take for granted but which is ultimately specious, though infinitely important as an expression of what I like to call the Divine or the Ineffable. It is the domain of the heart, the Spirit, of Life which gives meaning to this “dog-and-pony show” that I refer to so often. I heard a lecture by Richard Rohr recently in which he used the term Silence, a different name for the same phenomena, and describing it as “the safety net which lies underneath the tight-rope walker, those of us who walk the razor’s edge.”

I now want to juxtapose the above poem with one by Eugene Mayo that I have always loved, entitled, “This Wind.”:

By E. L. Mayo

This is the wind that blows
Through and through.
I would not toss a kitten
Knowingly into a wind like this
But there’s no taking
Anything living
Out of the fury
Of this wind we breathe and ride upon.



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