“He that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
The following letter with the answer will be of great help to earnest seekers at this point:
Dear Mrs. Allen,
I expect you will receive many letters about your article on the Silence, but I hope one more will not take up too much of your valuable time. May I ask a few questions? When one enters the Silence should it be for one purpose only, that is, to wait on God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, or may one use the Silence for other purposes, such as Concentration, Meditation, making afﬁrmations or denials? I have only lately heard about the Silence, and am just beginning to understand something about the right way of praying.
You may enter the Silence for any and all of the purposes you mention. May I be allowed to give some of my own experiences? Some people imagine experience should never be given, or the “I” never used. Surely to speak with authority is to speak from experience and not from books or “hearsay.” “We speak that we do know and testify to that which we have seen,” and so I would speak that I know by personal experience. I enter the Silence for Aspiration. When one realizes what heights there are to attain; the spiritual insight, the peace that passeth understanding; the victory over self and sin; the many spiritual conquests one may achieve, one’s heart rises in aspiration, and the best method of aspiring is to withdraw from all objects of sight and sound into the Silence. Then, with nothing to distract the mind, let the heart aspire to all that is beautiful and spiritual. This is an active practice, and quite distinct from the “waiting” which is more a passive condition of mind. With this Aspiring (especially when some one ideal is the subject of aspiration rather than the spiritual life generally), the mind is gently led into Concentration, and it is almost impossible for a beginner to concentrate unless he or she withdraw into the Silence. Aspiration is absolutely necessary as the foundation of right Concentration. Never concentrate on any subject to which the whole mind cannot aspire as a holy and spiritual thing. Aspiration is the safest guide to Concentration. When you have used the Silence sufﬁciently long in aspiring to the very highest, you will then come to the practice of concentration, and you will ﬁnd how blessed and helpful a thing it is to withdraw into the Silence to concentrate upon some divine Truth or high Ideal. Then will come the power to Meditate in the Silence. Meditation is quite distinct from Concentration. Our beloved James Allen says in one of his books: By concentration a man can scale the highest heights of genius, but he cannot scale the heavenly heights of Truth; to accomplish this he must meditate. By concentration a man may acquire the wonderful comprehension and vast power of a Caesar; by meditation he may reach the divine wisdom and peace of the Christ. The perfection of concentration is power; the perfection of meditation is wisdom. By meditation men learn how to live; in the hour of meditation, enlightenment, wisdom, and spiritual knowledge are gained.
The object of meditation in the Silence is always Divine Elightenment. High aspirations and intense concentration on the beauty of the ideal aspired to, is carried out—very often unconsciously—in the daily life. You will ﬁnd that the thought that ﬁlled your heart with aspiration, and on which you concentrated while in the Silence, will be the mainspring of all your actions during the day, and you will ﬁnd that you are being actuated by something unknown to you before—a something that seems to you at ﬁrst to be far above you and outside you. It will be the working out of all you gained in the Silence. Things that would have worried you and perplexed you before will now become so simple and easily understood that you will have no difficulty in meeting and overcoming them. Difﬁculties that would seem gigantic to you before will now become stepping stones to greater happiness and success.
So you will understand that the Silence will become the Sanctuary into which you will retire with every aspiration, every ideal, and every desire. There you will concentrate on your ideals, and there you will meditate on holy subjects, and on the words of the Divine Master. But whatever you do, guard against reverie. It is one of the gravest dangers, and cannot be too strongly guarded against. Remember reverie is not meditation.
But the highest object of the Silence is union with God. When you enter the Silence for this and this alone, then must the mind be stilled, and thought held in abeyance. You must just lose yourself in the Divine. Let go! “Be still and know that I am God." Wait in perfect conﬁdence that God is pouring out His Spirit upon you. At ﬁrst it will be difﬁcult, and it is best to spend but a very short time thus, but gradually you will wait longer and longer, and always the result will be a deepening of the spiritual life, a greater calm, a more perfect spiritual poise, and an increasing insight into all the experiences of life, with wisdom and knowledge to meet, and solve, every problem. “In Thy light shall we see light" was the expression of one who knew so well the practice of the presence of God in the Silence.