Many years ago I had a dream. This dream showed the Earth from a great distance, a luminous, blue jewel against the darkness of space. I saw areas on the earth that were red and inflamed. And then the light of a full moon appeared and soft rays touched down upon these wounded regions on the Earth. I heard: Wherever the feminine touches, there is healing.
When I shared this dream at a United Nations Global Peace Initiative in Geneva, the room, filled with men and women from around the world, became utterly silent. Just for a moment, there was a space of complete stillness.
I experienced this several years later, when I was asked to speak at a shelter for homeless women. It was my first visit and I didn’t know what to say. And then, as I stood up to speak, I realized I could only tell them my dream that led me to this room to be with them. I said that I was told in a dream that every woman is sacred. The women just looked at me, their eyes open like the sky. Except for the ticking of a large clock on the wall, there was again this absolute stillness. It was as if life itself was listening. The staff later told me that they had never heard such silence in the room.
This experience reminds me of what the poet and Buddhist priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel wrote, describing the process of her writing,
A profound witnessing of life that wants to be laid down in words
as an offering to the altar of silence.
Zenju adds, “A silent justice speaks. Its message rises through the movement of birds, the running of water, the moonlight on barren land. Justice is open – empty space and time to gather a fresh collective song.”
Last night as I walked the dog after dinner, I greeted a neighbor who had just returned home and was getting out of his car. An owl called from a nearby tree and so we stood quietly together, listening for a few minutes. The owl then took flight almost directly above us.
This neighbor and I exchanged a few words, and I learned that his wife is doing better. Later that evening I realized how this simple connection felt like a healing balm, like the moonlight on barren land. To live in relation to this sense of silence, underneath everything, is what we can offer to life.