This week was no exception to the amazing weeks of camp I’ve gotten to visit this summer. The campers were energetic, hopeful, intentional and loving. We discovered how God does new things in our lives and world – the way Ze acts and speaks; listens and lives. I am learning quickly that God speaks in peculiar places. I like to think of these places as “om” moments – like the sound that helps meditators center themselves and draw a connection with one’s emptiness. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia page on the om, “Before creation began it was “Shunyākāsha”, the emptiness or the void. Shunyākāsha, meaning literally “no sky”, is more than nothingness, because everything then existed in a latent state of potentiality. The vibration of “OM” symbolises the manifestation of God in form (“sāguna brahman”). “OM” is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be “Adi Anadi”, without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists. The mantra “OM” is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, A-U-M represents the divine energy (Shakti) united in its three elementary aspects: Bhrahma Shakti (creation), Vishnu Shakti (preservation) and Shiva Shakti (liberation, and/or destruction).”
Om is the sound that grounds people, a constant hum that focuses the soul when chaos distracts the mind from breathing. Om was what I needed this week. Like the time we take breathe, om is always the first thing we forget to listen to and the last sound we make. I believe that the Holy connection is so ever-present that we don’t even notice it. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and ear infection. I guess flying for several weeks on end and having a history of sinus issues wasn’t especially helpful after all. As I made a genuine effort to get to know the campers and staff as well as possible this week, I was frustrated when learning to ask for what I needed became the hardest thing to did. “I think I need to see a doctor. I’m sorry, I’m not exactly myself this week. Can you repeat that?” I hate asking for what I need. And for that reason, I’m terrible at it. I hate letting someone know that I’m not where I need to be – I am in need of something that I cannot do for myself. I just hate that. So, instead, for the most I just sit in silence.
I remember a little wooden plaque I used to see in the bathroom of a good friend’s home as a child all the time. It was the photo a moon with a halo on the coast with stars all around. The text read; “I cherish the circle of quiet that surrounds you.” The silence forced into my life when what I really needed to do was ask for something that could improve my health was not of the wooden plaque variety. It was cold, oblivious, frustrated and confused.
My experience of failure to ask for what I needed made me start thinking about those whose voices really are silenced. i think grace is somewhere between the circle of quiet and the om. If we learn to speak for ourselves, we are understanding that we are children of God and that we too have needs. The om has no beginning or no end – it is creation, creative spark, Spirit, breathe. Silence is big when the om is inaudible. The children whose voices aren’t heard become overwhelmingly loud when the om is nowhere to be heard. The grace to live with God, to hear was Ze says and calls us to do sometimes means admitting that we can’t do it all on our own, and the peace to know that sometimes, that’s just alright.