There is that silence in exile that is beyond words, beyond the words that make noise.
There is also that silence in the exile that makes him see things differently, the seeing afforded by distance and displacement, distantiation and placement.
They say that language has been invented because man did not know how to deal with the fullness of language, that fullness that goes beyond human comprehension as invented to deal with everydayness, with the daily demands of life, in short, with the tedious and the boring and the ritualistic.
Essentially this fullness is incommunicable, untranslatable.
A person has to listen in silence, allowing that silence to speak in accord with the lexical requisites of silence itself.
Like the speaking that does not require words but just the attuning of the soul to that which is there, in the now.
The there and now are the conditions.
The there of the place, the now of the time--of moment in place, of place in a moment.
At best, silence is an urge and in exile, the exile has much of this urge even as he keeps holding on to the possibilities of prayer said, repeatedly if necessary, because one had listened to the forces of life and the universe.
This silence happens to me--I 'fall' into it many times over each day--as if this is part and parcel of life lived everyday.
I fall into silence, and there, in the now of the silence, I listend to the ruach, the chi, the prana, the anito, the apo, the God of all that which is possible.
When the spirit stirs, and stirs me with urgency, I go to a nook, I demand silence, I allow silence to take hold of me.
I simply shut out, shut off.
I become my own man, oblivious of anything.
I go the beach, walk barefoot on the sand, watch the waves form into a surf and then break up and wash the shore with their bubbles.
I see eternity here, like the dew of the early summer morning entering into the sea, into this vastness, until the dew 'ones' with the salty water and then it is no more.
Somewhere, I have written about this 'oneing', this uniting of all opposites, of all contrarieties, all contradictions, all theses and antitheses.
I run to a dark nook of a silent church.
I prefer it to be noontime or the hours when you do not expect many people to be around, many exiles like you asking for that one fat chance to be able to make it here in this land of wandering souls, migrants and immigrants who are bruised by rootlessness.
I choose a corner pew, at the back.
I hear the lonely chirping of a lone church bird, the chirping coming in low and then building up a crescendo until it becomes a call to prayer, a call to come to a unison with the universe.
Like today, I listen to this church bird calling out to the sun, the wind, the trees, the saints, the altar, the church bells, the praying people.
A, this is silence, and it is always, always wordless.
It is wordless because it is full.
Ineffable, the metaphysicist calls this.
The ineffability of life, mysterious, indefinable.
What we need here is to allow the soul to be resigned to what life gives as a favor and grace.
There is rest here, quiet, adequation--call it with any other name, but this is what matters in the end.
This language beyond language, this silence beyond language, beyond the tentative silence itself.
I sit still. I still my soul, my spirit, my mind, my heart.
I sit to listen, without any word.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 2, 2006