There is a vast landscape within our selves beyond where analytical thought or words can go. And if we are used to relying on thought and words to make sense of our lives, we will know when we are at the border of that place beyond words when we find ourselves at a loss for words and coherent thought.
Sometimes we are brought to that borderland rather gradually and we find that we can still make clumsy attempts to impose some seeming order of understanding and control. We can still attempt to articulate our feelings or untangle our convoluted thought. We find someone to talk to, or we open our journal and find some consolation as words appear through lips or pen to give shape to what is jumbled within us.
But sometimes we are thrown ungently into that land beyond words and we cannot even see the border to familiar territory. This is a place where word and thought are out of reach. We have reached a deeper sacred space where Mystery has reached out and taken hold of us. We are lost and feel we must find our foothold again through some non-verbal way… perhaps with art, perhaps with movement, perhaps by putting ourselves in nature. But sometimes there may be nothing we can do except accept that we are lost. Sometimes we can only wait – wait for some sign to reach us; for some clue as to what our next step is. Wait for the I-know-not-what… having to trust that we will recognise it when it appears.
This land beyond words is a holy place. And as all truly holy places do, it can strike our hearts with holy fear and stun us into silence by filling us with a deep sense of our utter powerlessness before God. This holy place strips us, whether we will it or no, of all the false idols we have used as fig leaves to hide our nakedness from God. It strips us and brings us where we would rather not go, but where the love of God compels us to walk.
In this land beyond thought and word, prayer is not talk, nor is it even listening for something we can understand. Here prayer can only be pure love; an act of will to be beheld by Love and to behold Love in return without understanding.
Pilgrim friend, has something thrown you into this land beyond words? Come, let us be unafraid together. Let us take off our sandals on this holy ground and wait, unknowing, for however Love chooses to manifest – today, tomorrow, or at a time unknown to any, except to Love.