The room is large with a high ceiling. Plastered and papered, it responds to sound with warm, dampened reverberation. All around there is a purposeful muttering, over which carry clear waves of airy, extemporised piano music, meditative with a hint of the ecstatic, played quietly in with pleasant major modal harmonies.

From ordinary faces, bowed, flow soft voices; whisper and murmur; saturated with emotion and meaning, but soft like the rustle of leaves in a slight breeze or the fluttering of tiny wings; sometimes rising in a gentle rumbling like the sound of many faraway hooves; sometimes falling almost silent to a dry whisper like winter wind. Now and again, someone there is a throaty sniff from a stifled sob.

In the sound: great silence; amongst the people: deep solitude. In the quietest of voices, spoken too softly to be understood, they admit their hopes, fears, joys and sorrows.

At other times I have heard soft singing and chanting blending with the soothing chords of the music, but today all prayers are spoken. On every occasion, the feeling is of the release something long held confined; not with an odour stale or stagnant, but with the scent of stillness.

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