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Robert Trabold

Dim dark room – full of mystery

Christmas tree

soft lights – varied colors

gentle yellow – clean white – stronger red – deep blue

a few twinkling ones –

light covered with mystery and silence.

I bath myself in soft light –

silence – quiet.

Beauty touches me – whispering the mysterious –

will not leave me.

I sit in the quiet – dreaming in beauty.

Someone is knocking at the door –

in the soft – gentle loveliness –

mysterious presence – my Beloved –

beautiful – good – more than the soft light of the tree.

He gives me hope – soft light of the tree

penetrates darkness.

My Beloved will not leave me alone in the night – cold.

He calls me to hope – not to lose heart.

Beauty of the lights is stronger than darkness.

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Church of St Thomas, Manhattan

Robert Trabold


Flickering candles decked with greens

church garnished by Christmas wreathes

powerful organ music touches – shakes strong gothic columns

burning incense arises – sweetens the air

light voices of  boys’ choir announce good news.

Stately procession ushers us into the presence of the sacred.

Unveiling the crèche – Mary and Joseph gaze

at the little infant surrounded by straw and animals.

Angels sang in the skies that first night –

choir’s voices now repeat the good news.

Tears come to my eyes – such a longing of hope –

longing for light in a world of darkness – war!

How can we ever end the bullets that wound so many people?

bullets of words – bullets of guns!

Tears fill my eyes again – tears of hope – confidence

my hands are clutching – groping in the darkness

tears fill – touch my whole body.

Clouds of incense surround me with mystery –

mystery of light in darkness.

I sit with my tears – knowing that

my Beloved is present – hidden in the music and song.

He will not leave me along in the night – cold.

I feel the touch of his hands – helping me carry the burden.

My heart feels lighter – warmth – light of the crèche

lifts me – I stand upright.

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Evening Hush

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by Robert Trabold


Gentle summer air – comfortable 

not hot – colors tone down – 

sunshine has gone – I hear 

the final chirps of the birds in the trees. 

Like a cat walking on freshly cut grass – 

stillness descends on all – 

no wind to disturb the calm. 

It was a long day – too many chores – 

aching feet – e-mails – telephone calls 

decisions to be made. 

Welcome relief to sit in the quiet! 

I let it roll over my whole body – 

deep sedative – 

calm takes me over – even my 

feet do not ache so much. 

I look forward to this hour – 

time for a visit. 

Garden’s hush opens up 

an abyss at my center – still point. 

Someone touches me – mystery – otherness. 

No words are spoken – silence 

is the language of God – 

silence – calm – hushed garden – 

usher me into a presence – 

presence of my Beloved. 

Let me rest in this quiet – 

visit – gift – that puts a beautiful 

end to a hectic day. 

Someone is with me – that is all that matters!

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Sounds of Silence

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Sounds of Silence

by Robert Trabold

 I hear waves lapping the shore in the distance –

deep sounds – coming out of eternity.

Cool sea breeze touches my face –

silent – coming from the same eternity.

Endless blue sky says not a word –

hangs over all.

Sounds of waves wash deep within me –

open an abyss at my center.

My slow quiet breathing points to it!

I feel a pain within my whole body –

pains of love – longing – desire.

Abyss takes hold of me –

penetrates my whole core.

Abyss is mystery – darkness – silence –

presence of my Beloved.

My Beloved is knocking at my heart – at my center.

Tears fill my eyes but I can say no words –

I have no words to say!

Sounds of the waves echo my endless longing.

Love – desire – feelings of fire close my throat.

My Beloved is other – transcendent – beyond me –

yet always deep within me –

a presence I have – do not have.

So I can only sit – wait – whisper:

‘For you alone, my soul wants in silence.’


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Joel Goldsmith – Practicing the Presence

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Joel Goldsmith – Practicing the Presence

July 1, 2013

While on vacation recently, I began to reread one of Joel Goldsmith’s books entitled “Practicing the Presence”, (1958). I first read Joel’s works almost 25 years ago. I sensed he was speaking truth about meditation and how to experience the Divine in that state. After 20 plus years of contemplative readings and prayer, Joel’s writing has begun to make sense to me.

Joel says that there are two main parts of the journey. The first part is the realization that the Kingdom of God is within all of us. The second part is experiencing the Christ through deep prayer and loving intention to experience the Presence that is always available to us. Joel says that this experience could be a feeling of warmth, a feeling of release, a still quiet voice, or something that touches our heart so that we know we were visited by the Christ. This is only the beginning and is enhanced through increased times of deep silent meditation. Joel indicates that the Christ is not reached by words or thoughts but through hours of silent meditation where we open ourselves to the Christ.

The Christian mystics followed Paul’s advice to “pray without ceasing.” The early mystics indicated that the strength in one’s prayer is in stillness and silence. Jesus also says that we also must pray in secret. Mathew 6:6 indicates that we must enter the inner sanctuary, close the door, and pray where others cannot see us. If we pray in public, the ego is on display which destroys our spiritual integrity. The whole mission of Jesus was about the transformation of one’s personal ego to the ego of Christ. One can experience a more sacred and holy relationship with God if praying in secret.

Continuous inner meditation and reaching toward the center of our being will eventually lead to part 2 above – experiencing the Christ within us. Joel indicates that the degree to which we experience the Christ within us, determines the degree of individual unfoldment. Christ becomes a part of our life – by feeding us, supplying us, enriching us, healing us and bringing us into fullness of life. Joel shares his connection to Christ with all of by being a spiritual conduit that has healed many in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

Contemplative Outreach, created in the early 1980’s, also uses the principles of meditation to help “practice the Presence”; it is called Centering Prayer and references Mathew 6:6 also as a biblical description of reaching inward through silent contemplation to locate and experience the ever present God.

Tilden Edwards, founder of The Shalem Institute, wrote a book entitled “Living in the Presence: Spiritual Exercises to Open Our Lives to the Awareness of God” in 1987. This book expanded the approaches to opening oneself to the Holy One that dwells within all. These exercises and reflections are envisioned to help anyone to live in the awareness of God. Also, the exercises include breathing, praying with icons or scripture and simple meditation in the silent sacred space, and many more. Joel and Tilden both recognize the indwelling presence, realizing that God can be touched through holy silence and that these simple methods bring forth a transformation that allows the Christ to grow in our hearts.

In conclusion, Joel Goldsmith, one of America’s greatest Christian mystics, indicates that this meditative practice is open to all. “Every person who has known dissatisfaction, incompleteness and frustration will someday learn that there is only one missing link in this entire chain of harmonious living. That is the practice of the presence of God – consciously, daily and hourly, abiding in some great spiritual strength of scripture, and it makes no difference which scripture: Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, or Muslim.”

By Phil Stone

Remote Prayer for the Contemplative

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Many contemplatives have difficulty praying for a specific purpose because most of their prayer time is spent in quiet meditation simply being in God’s presence. Sometimes a prayer has purpose. This prayer is simply a format that integrates contemplative practices while asking God to join you in praying for a purpose that calls you to prayer.


Remote Prayer for the Contemplative

Stand or Sit in Silence – Light Candle if possible

(Hands cupped in front of you, chest level)

Say aloud or in secret:

I open myself to prayer.  Divine Source, whom/what should we select to put into my hands so that together we might join in prayer for them/situation?

–          Someone I care about/love?

–          Someone I find difficult to love/be with?

–          A situation?

–          Creation?

–          Other?


(Hands over heart)

–          I bring that person/situation into my heart, where You dwell.


(Hands extended)

–          I submit that person/situation into your total love and care.


(Hands in prayer position/bowing)

–          I bow in gratitude that you are present and praying with me; and that you hold all in your love and light. As I send prayerful energy to this person/situation, I am grateful that your loving will has been done.


Rest and Sit

(Hands in receiving position)

–          I welcome you in quiet meditation – your love, your will and your care of all creation.


Rest and Silence

(Hands relaxed)

2013 The Contemplative Path. Laptop computer.