top of page

Silent Sunday

The Silence of the Heart


The theme for this silent Sunday is the silence of the heart, where we explore moving from our head-knowing to our hearts, and how this can deepen our way of being in God and participating in the creative unfolding of life. I invite you to open your hearts as we journey together, with the music, readings, quiet prayer and reflections to guide us through this theme.

Opening music:

Open my heartAnna Hernandez
00:00 / 03:32


Open my heart, open my heart

Time: 15 minutes

Centering prayer / meditation:

 It is important to remember that we cannot use the mind to put the mind in the heart, we cannot force this with our will. Our work is to willingly relinquish our grasp on our minds, to surrender our mind to the deeper silence of the heart. This is where the method of centering prayer is such a helpful guide: when you find yourself lost in thoughts, simply and gently let go of those thoughts and return to presence using your sacred word, or your breath as an anchor to the present moment, to help to steer your attention back to here, now, to the silence outside of the mind, surrendering to the Presence of God.

I invite you to open your hearts in a time of prayer (you can choose between a guided time of prayer and a 20 minute time of simple silence below). If you find your mind wandering, gently let go of your thoughts and return to silence, to being present, to awareness of your breath or your sacred word.

Guided prayer – moving from head to heartGuided
00:00 / 11:12
Twenty minute timerSilent
00:00 / 20:28

Listen to the following music as an ending to the time of prayer:

Come be in my heartSara Thomsen
00:00 / 03:27


Wisdom, Compassion, Love, Understanding
Wisdom, Compassion, Love, Understanding
Wisdom, Compassion, Love, Understanding

Come be in my heart (come dancing)
Come be in my hands (come singing)
Come be in my feet (come running)
Come be in my working and playing
the words I am saying
my laughing, my crying
my living, my dying
Come, be in my heart, Holy One, come

Sacred Reading:

Read the following readings through twice or three times, with an attitude of open receptivity. Listen for any words that call out to you, or that draw you into the sacredness of silence.

Reading 1: Psalm 85:8-12

Listen, O people, in the silent chapel of your heart;

and the Beloved will speak of peace to you,

to the seekers of sacredness, to all who turn your hearts to Love.

Surely new life is at hand for those who reverence Love;

O, that harmony might dwell among the nations.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;

righteousness and peace will embrace one another.

Flowers of faithfulness and wisdom will spring up from the ground

and radiant truth will look down from the sky.

The Eternal Giver grants gentle rain and nourishment,

and the soil of the earth responds in joyful generosity.

Mercy and compassion are Love's way,

and will guide our footsteps upon the path of peace.

~ Based on Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill

Reading 2:

"The shortest way to the Friend is through selfless service

  and generosity to his creatures.

Know the joy of silence in one's corner of solitude.

Drink from this Heart now for all this loving it contains.

When you look for it again, it will be dancing in the wind.

Let sorrowful longing dwell in your heart;

never give up, never losing hope.

The Beloved says, 'The broken ones are my darlings.'

Crush your heart, be broken."

~ Rumi

Reading 3:

"May our heart's garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Heart practices:

I encourage you to try the following heart practices in the next few days or weeks:

  • Consciously choose to drop from your mind into our heart, letting go of your usual narratives and feeling your heart from within. It helps to use the breath to do this, as we explored in the guided practice.

  • When you begin to experience strong emotions, especially difficult ones, become aware of how your mind tries to protect your heart - but try not to scold the mind for this, just bring your non-judgmental awareness to what is happening. Then try to stay with what you are feeling, allowing yourself to open to this experience, and at the same time allowing yourself to be held in the vast spaciousness of God's heart.

  • When you read about or listen to news of the suffering of others, make a conscious choice to open your heart and try to listen from there. Picture gradually softening and opening your heart outward to make room for those who are suffering in an expansive spaciousness, but try to feel this from within.

  • Try to become aware of your heart responses to people in your daily life, and notice when you feel as if your heart is constricting or hardening toward somebody. Gently invite your heart to soften and open in that moment - picture your heart space opening outward and being able to include this person in a kind, inclusive embrace, knowing that we are all held and embraced in the expansive heart of God.

For Further Reflection:

I encourage you to spend some time in further reflection on this theme. Below are some of the quotes from the talk and additional quotes for you to take this theme further.

R S Thomas: 

But the silence in the mind

is when we live best, within

listening distance of the silence

we call God. This is the deep

calling to deep of the psalm-

writer, the bottomless ocean

we launch the armada of

our thoughts on, never arriving.

It is a presence, then,

whose margins are our margins;

that calls us out over our

own fathoms. What to do

but draw a little nearer to

such ubiquity by remaining still?

Martha Beck: 

"In the silence I feel a gentle and infinite peace - it trickles into me like cool water down a parched throat."

Cynthia Bourgeault describes the heart as an "organ of contemplation, of luminous insight and compassionate action."

Kabir Helminski describes the Heart as "the source of wisdom and subtle perceptions."

Ezekiel 36:26 

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; 

I will remove from you your heart of stone 

and give you a heart of flesh."

Llewellyn Vaughan Lee: 

"We need to be able to hold the space between stories, between breaths, to become aware of this place of pure being outside of the rhythms of time, and yet also deeply connected to the flow of life, to what is sacred. It is here in this unformed space that the seeds of the future can be held, from where the dreams of the soul of the world can be born ... dreams free from the patterns of the past, born from the song lines of the soul and the world's soul. Here, in the intense vulnerability of the unknown, the unformed, the future is not yet written, but has possibilities beyond even the images of our imagination. ... That is why, amidst all the many demands of today's world, it is of such value to be able to return to silence, embracing stillness, to be a place where the future can be born, free of the restrictions of the past, not caught in any of the hierarchies or dynamics of power that define so much of our present existence, our civilization and it's toxic patterns of behaviour, nor seduced by fantasies of the future. The future will arrive unannounced, part of the miracle of life recreating itself. ...It is a mystery arising out of the unborn, and we are a part of this mystery. We are not separate from life, and with each breath we return to this core, this essence, this primal mystery. ... Here, life is infused with it's sacred nature, unpolluted. Here there is neither past nor future, but an unfolding present, a mystery being continuously revealed."

Wendell Berry: How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.

Sit down. Be quiet.

You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill—more of each than you have—inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity. Any readers who like your poems, doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.

Ending Prayer:

Our loving God, boundless in mercy, well-spring of compassion,

May we not forget the infinite possibilities

that are born from our rootedness in you.

May awareness of your presence settle into our bones,

and allow our souls the freedom to sing, dance, weep, explore and love.

May we honour the sacred miracle of life, 

as we open to the unfolding present, 

your mystery being continuously revealed beyond the possibilities of our imagining.

May we know the breadth and depth of your love

that encompasses each and every one of us,

that bursts the banks of our limited economies,

and flows in abundance from hearts that are broken open and willing,

tending the wounds of our world with deep tenderness and mercy.


~ Based on a prayer by St Teresa of Avila

Ending music:

Heart of fleshAlana Levandoski
00:00 / 03:52


Remove from us these hearts of stone,

And give to us a heart of flesh;

Remove from us these hearts of stone,

And give to us a heart of flesh.

Pour out, pour out, pour out,

Pour it all out.

We would appreciate any donations so that we can continue making resources like this available at no cost.
Donate here...
A very warm thank you to all of you who have donated so generously.

To see a list of additional resources click here...

If you are not already on our mailing list you can subscribe here...
Deeper cover smaller.jpg

Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from or Takealot, or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.

bottom of page