The artists of being alive

And yet, I know artists whose medium is Life itself, and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel, or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased Life. They SEE and don’t have to draw. They are the artists of being alive.

Pilgrimages belong to the inner world

I see the way of the artist as a kind of pilgrimage. When you go on a pilgrimage, you set out from where you happen to be and start walking toward a place of great sanctity in the hope of returning from it renewed, enriched, and sanctified. However far you may walk, every pilgrimage is a safari into your own dark interior, an inner journey. For pilgrimages belong to the inner world, to the realm called the "religious."

Home is where the heart is not famished, the eye not starved

Home is where the heart is not famished, the eye not starved, the Sacred not banished or desecrated. The Sacred cannot be caught in formulas. It cannot be analyzed, not even in terms of ecology, as beauty cannot be caught in the semantics of esthetics. Fingers pointing toward the Transcendent need no vocabulary, for they do not preach. Beyond the dialects of all religions they witness to a religious attitude toward life itself.

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has gained

From the viewpoint of BELIEFS all doubts are disastrous. From the viewpoint of FAITH, doubt is the indispensable stimulant. To lose one's BELIEFS may not be a loss but a gain: an opportunity. "When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has gained," is an ancient Sufi saying. To lose one's FAITH, however, is catastrophic; the loss of this vital human constituent means mutilation, dehumanization, cynicism, nihilism.

Peace is not the absence of war

"Peace is not the absence of war." Spinoza said it, but it is mindlessly quoted out of context, for he added, "It is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice."

I shall fall still

When challenged to explain the Absolute I shall fall still, I shall be silent as a mute.

Finding one's path

A paragraph from Frederick Franck's new book, A LITTLE COMPENDIUM ON THAT WHICH MATTERS, which he graciously sent to Friends of Silence, also speaks to this theme:

On a dark afternoon

On a dark afternoon -- I was ten or eleven -- I was walking on a country road, on my left a patch of curly kale, on my right some yellowed Brussel sprouts. I felt a snowflake on my cheek, and from far away in the charcoal-gray sky I saw the approach of a snowstorm. I stood still. Some flakes were now falling around my feet. A few melted as they hit the ground. Others stayed intact. Then I heard the falling of the snow, with the softest hissing sound.

I stood transfixed, listening ... and knew what can never be expressed: that the natural is supernatural, and that I am the eye that hears and the ear that sees, that what is outside happens in me, that outside and inside are unseparated. It is the inexpressible, and the inexpressible is the only thing that it is worthwhile expressing.