October 1993 (Vol. VI, No. 9)

GREETINGS and BLESSINGS be yours, friends! As leave fall to the earth and surrender to the soil, may we, too, move our attention from the outer world to the Inner Being. As we move toward a season of stillness, may our path be straight, returning to the Source. Listen. The stillness calls to you.

Have you ever tried to spend a whole hour doing nothing but listening

Have you ever tried to spend a whole hour doing nothing but listening to the voice that dwells deep in your heart? ... It is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of the world and to discover the small intimate voice saying: "You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rests." Still, if we dare embrace our solitude and befriend our silence, we will come to know the voice ... a voice that can be heard by the ear of faith, the ear of the inner heart.

~ from BECOMING THE BELOVED by Henri Nouwen

There is one quality of mind which is the basis and foundation of spiritual discovery

There is one quality of mind which is the basis and foundation of spiritual discovery, and that quality of mind is called bare attention. Bare attention means observing things as they are, without choosing, without comparing, without evaluating, without laying our projections and expectations on what is happening; cultivating instead a choiceless and non-interfering awareness.

~ from THE EXPERIENCE OF INSIGHT by Joseph Goldstein

Words are unimportant in approaching God

Words are unimportant in approaching God. Instead let us go to God with the same attitude one child had as she sat almost hidden in the midst of a field of waving wheat. When her grandfather went looking for her, from a distance he heard her going through the entire alphabet, softly saying, "A, B, C, D, E ..." Curious, her grandfather asked, "What are you doing?" "I'm praying, Grandpa. But I don't know the right words, so I'm saying all the letters and letting God put them together."

~ from THE ALCHEMY OF AWARENESS by Lorraine Sinkler

How to avoid daydreaming

People often ask how they can avoid daydreaming when they are trying to meditate. Meditation does not make them daydream, but only makes them more aware of fantasies they have always had. In meditating even for a short time, they hold a mirror up to themselves that clearly reveals the shape of their fantasies.

Walking deep in a forest in late autumn, you may be startled by the loud rustling of your feet among the dry leaves breaking in the stillness. Fantasies disturb meditation in the same way.

~ from "The Sound of Our Own Footsteps" by Shundo Aoyama

Unless you aren't there

God, whose love and joy
are present everywhere,
Can't come to visit you
unless you aren't there.

~ Angelus Silesius

It was in the fall and winter that I felt closest to my tree

As strange as it may sound, it was in the fall and winter that I felt closest to my tree. Her spring beauty and summer fruit filled me with delight, but when the days began to grow cool and the leaves turned from darkest green to yellow, I could feel something deep and marvelously intimate begin to take place between us. And as fall turned to winter, this feeling of intimacy grew. With no bees humming among the blossoms, no birds fluttering from limb to limb, no leaves and cherries decorating her branches, my tree seemed to reveal herself to me in her purest form -- in her very essence. And when I embraced her and pressed my ear against her trunk, I could hear the silence that united us. And I knew that was sacred. (Choqosh Auh-Ho-Ho)

~ from THE FEMININE FACE OF GOD by Sherry Ruth Anderson & Patricia Hopkins

May I walk more quietly

May I walk more quietly
as I search more deeply
through the thick forest
along the spiritual path.

~ Anonymous

Attuning our awareness to the way we function

Attuning our awareness to the way we function and our relationship to the universe is the primary aim of most spiritual practice. Many teachings point out that our main enemy is ignorance. Awareness is our only defense against ignorance. This is why the practice of silence in spiritual retreat is so beneficial -- it raises and expands our awareness... A spiritual retreat is medicine for soul starvation. Through silence, solitary practice, and simple living, we begin to fill the empty reservoir. This lifts the veils, dissolves the masks, and creates space within for the feelings of forgiveness, compassion, and loving kindness that are so often blocked.

~ from SILENCE, SIMPLICITY & SOLITUDE by David Cooper

What is the source of thought?

What is the source of thought? Such a demanding question, the mind wants to go to sleep. It requires an enormous and penetrating effort. What is the source of meaning? There is a silence that does not have to be conjured, doesn't require attainment. Nothing you can do to bring it about. It's there constantly. It is the source of everything. Look into silence for a moment. You can touch this silence with your belly. You can touch this silence with your whole being. There is no more fear. Silence is the meaning. Listen to the chatter of your brain. Only echoes. Look deeply into the valley from which those echoes resonate. Listen to the valley itself, the silence. It is here that true function is revealed.

~ Robert W. Genthner

Ten thousand flowers in spring

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

~ WU-MEN

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest

You ask why I make my home in the
mountain forest,
and I smile, and am silent,
and even my soul remains quiet:
it lives in the other world
which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water flows.

~ Li Po

Whenever I experience God playing in my heart, I feel excitement and wonder

Whenever I experience God playing in my heart, I feel excitement and wonder. I am never really clear what has happened except that I begin to see old things in new ways. The whole of the experience seems more than the sum of its parts and the more I ponder the experience, the more I discover in it.

~ George Merrill

Spiritual growth occurs only when insight encourages both our hears and minds to give up

Spiritual growth occurs only when insight encourages both our hears and minds to give up the "advantages" of staying the same for something greater yet unknown.

~ from REFLECTIONS by Robert J. Wicks