Dear Friends ~ There is perhaps a certain irony in collecting words that have been spoken and written about silence. Being human means navigating by way of language and we learn —some things anyway —by talking and listening, writing and reading. Yet the practice of contemplative silence seems more often to be about learning non -verbal ways to understand, to be present, to encounter; a time to sweep away the words in order to allow for the possibility of communion at a deeper level. How hard it is to just be, to open our hearts and minds, to create the space for experience beyond words.
the guest, the host
the white chrysanthemum
I remember years ago in Korea in the Peace Corps, how I felt the first time I partook of the daily culture of "just sitting" together with friends in informal tearooms in Seoul, without saying a word; at first I felt quite nervous and bored, but when I was able to relax my mind and just be, it was a refreshing communion... each moment's meeting of a person or even a flower is precious and fleeting, it is to be savored completely, perhaps best in silence.
The notion of silence appears to unsettle—or puzzle—no small number of people of all walks of life...Something as "unproductive" as silence is not often taken seriously. The evaluation of silence differs from culture to culture. In the West, if you notice that someone is silent for a prolonged period of time, the tendency might be to ask, "are you all right?" Or the silence might be interpreted as a sign of unbalanced introversion or isolation or passive aggression. In India, they would say of the silent one, Ah muni! (Ah, there is a holy soul!)
To make love,
For the divine alchemy to work,
The Pitcher needs a still cup.
In Silence, I felt my core identity, my essential nature, as a unity-in-love with all creation. I experienced freedom, clarity, and joy as my true Self... This Self, this Silence belongs to all of us—it is who we are, it is what we are. If we are to experience and embody authentic peace and love, if we are going to bring true healing to our wildly violent and endangered world, we are going to have to learn to live within this essence which joins us together as brothers and sisters.
I am restless all afternoon...
How much I long for the huge stars to appear all
over the heavens,
And the black spaces between those stars...
Because I do not know words – tender, true,
and worthy enough to tread upon the pristine
sweep of your soul,
I give up on words
and offer you the integrity of silence,
the undefiled page,
and the wordless wonder of your own beloved self.