In the darkness of the early morning hours on this mountain, I arose to sit in silence, again. During the morning meditation we call centering prayer, silence turned to song. I did not ask for a song. I did not ask for anything. I sat in gratitude for the freedom to be still, to be. Nevertheless, a song which Tom Fettke wrote from a psalm began to sing itself. The song is “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.” I suggest you Google it to listen if you are also in the mood for worship.
I was experiencing what the song expresses so I want to share the words from the song with you. “When I gaze into the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and stars suspended in space, O what is man that you are mindful of him? You have given man a crown of glory and honor. You have made him a little lower than the angels. You have put him in charge of all creation: the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea. But what is man, O what is man that you are mindful of him? O Lord our God little children praise you perfectly. And so would we, and so would we: Alleluiah, Alleluiah, the majesty and glory of your name. Alleluiah, Alleluiah, the majesty and glory of your name. Alleluiah…” (sung repeatedly in a building crescendo). By the way, I wasn’t really comfortable with the sexist language so I changed “man” in my head to “human.”
Halfway into the song in my head I was crying. I sang it inside myself, in the dark of early morning, and a few words finally found sound through my mouth. I was very quiet since my wife Carol was still sleeping in another room. I think God was listening. Or maybe God was singing in me. Contemplative moments are like this. We don’t really know separation. Oneness prevails.
After the whole song had begun to resolve itself inside me, some phrases continued to repeat themselves somewhere in the place where mind and heart are one. I was reveling in the moment. I did not want this quiet presence with a kind of mantra of song to end. So I walked around the room slowly, counting my steps: a simple walking meditation. Morning light slowly filled the sky. And I was being filled.
An urge to listen to other mantra music on my computer arose in me. So I found a Youtube of Miten and Deva Primal singing several glorious chants: “So Much Magnificence,” (“There is so much magnificence near the ocean, waves are coming in. Halleluiah”), “In the Light of Love,” (“In the light of love we are home, we can sing Thy will be done”), and “Awakening.” I also commend these songs to you.
Contemplatives don’t need much to help us find The Majesty: silence, early morning darkness, a song arising in the heart, mantras to chant, or even a little space for walking meditation. We don’t need strobe lights, hours of orchestrated worship, sermons or lectures, someone else’s wisdom. We don’t even need special environments, since our sanctuary is within. Thanks be to God we are finally learning The Majesty is also within.
For more stories like this see Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture.