Flying through a thick bank of clouds is an interesting experience. The view through the aeroplane window is grey and foggy, and there is a lot of turbulence which can sometimes feel quite threatening. But as soon as the aircraft emerges above the clouds, the view opens out into an expansive pristine and calm blue sky. I always find this moment inspiring. The sky has been there all along, but is so easily forgotten in the middle of the thick clouds. For me his is a beautiful analogy for the process that unfolds in contemplative prayer. We can get so caught up in a thick bank of cloudy thoughts, with their heavy turbulence, that we forget that this infinite inner expanse of calm well-being is there all along, and this cloudy patch is just a passing weather pattern. With practice in letting go of heavy thoughts, and easing back into simple presence and openness to God, it becomes more and more possible to emerge out of the thick dominating fog into the quiet holding expanse of God’s presence.
In The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila writes that “the soul is vast, spacious, plentiful. This amplitude is impossible to exaggerate…. The Sun at the center of this place radiates to every part.” My prayer is that we all come to know the freedom and expansiveness of this vast pristine spaciousness of our souls, and from this place reflect the exquisite radiance of the Sun.