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God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch our souls.

                                                                                                                                                 ~Mother Teresa

Dr.Randy Woodley, is a Cherokee descendant, writer, and professor, former p astor, and historian.  A lover of plants,  he and his wife co-sustain the Elohah farm in Oregon where they utilize and teach principles of Permaculture, Biomimicry and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge.  His latest book of daily meditations is called:  Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnection with Sacre Earth.  At the end of each mediation Woodley offers a practice to follow.  The following mediation is called The Elk and The Loon

“There remain very few places on the Earth where one can go to experience silence. Often when we try to escape into nature, our bliss is interrupted by the distant sounds of tires hugging the road, or airplanes flying overhead, or even dirt bikes driving by (which I have a particular aversion to—sorry, dirt-bikers).

 Many meditative practices rely on a semblance of silence that, through discipline, drowns out the noise of the world. Still, sound is ever present. When escaping to more remote places, I have taught myself to ignore the unwanted sounds and embrace those that feed my spirit. Two sounds never fail to connect me to my deepest primordial spirit-heart. 
One is that of an elk bugle. During my years in Colorado, I would go archery hunting for elk. (I should state up front that I never actually killed an elk.) Archery hunters must find a way to draw the bull elk close. That means having only about fifty yards between yourself and a huge, excited, seven-hundred-pound wild creature with large antlers that can take down bushes and small trees at will. 

My advantage was that I could imitate the elk’s bugle. Every fall for several years, I looked forward to calling elk. It became an annual pleasure. In fact, I was never disappointed by not getting one as long as I had a good calling session. The elk’s “bugle” is more of a whistle when it begins; it then transitions to a howl and finally a grunt. In this sound is found the elk’s deepest urge to challenge everything around him so his lineage may remain on Earth. Somehow, there is an echo there within my own soul. 

The other sound that reconnects me to sacred Earth—actually my favorite sound in the world—is that of a loon. The loon’s call resonates deep within my very being. I have no words to explain it but to say that it both excites me and gives me deep peace. The loon’s call is both mystery and beauty, primordial and addictive, and I long for it always.

I love to experience other sounds as well: the sweet song of a cardinal, the cooing of a  mourning dove, the simple rush of ocean waves. These are the true songs of my heart that let me know that I am connected to the whole community of creation."

What sounds in nature speak to your soul? If you know, can you seek them more often? If you’re not sure, what could you do to discover them?

Great Spirit Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Help me remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards me.
Help me find compassion without
empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
- Translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash