Pray Without Ceasing

Annie Dillard

At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains , the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time, you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence…

The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega. It is God’s brooding over the face of the waters; it is the blended note of ten thousand things, the whine of wings. You take a step in the right direction to pray to this silence, and even to address the prayer to “World.” Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing.

Annie Dillard