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Archive for the ‘silence’ Category

 

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

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Silence

“Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being, between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.”
Thomas Merton

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Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

 

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Natasha Dern, Huffington Post

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Non-Duality
The bell tolls at four in the morning.
I stand by the window,
barefoot on the cool floor.
.
The garden is still dark.
I wait for the mountains and rivers to reclaim their shapes.
There is no light in the deepest hours of the night.
.
Yet, I know you are there
in the depth of the night,
the immeasurable world of the mind.
You, the known, have been there
ever since the knower has been.
The dawn will come soon,
and you will see
that you and the rosy horizon
are within my two eyes.It is for me that the horizon is rosy
and the sky blue.
.
Looking at your image in the clear stream,
you answer the question by your very presence.
Life is humming the song of the non-dual marvel.
.
I suddenly find myself smiling
in the presence of this immaculate night.
.
I know because I am here that you are there,
and your being has returned to show itself
in the wonder of tonight’s smile.
.
In the quiet stream,I swim gently.
The murmur of the water lulls my heart.
.
A wave serves as a pillow
I look up and see
a white cloud against the blue sky,
the sound of Autumn leaves,
the fragrance of hay-
each one a sign of eternity.
.
A bright star helps me find my way back to myself.
I know because you are there that I am here.
.
The stretching arm of cognition
in a lightning flash,
joining together a million eons of distance,
joining together birth and death,
joining together the known and the knower.
.
In the depth of the night,
as in the immeasurable realm of consciousness,
the garden of life and I
remain each other’s objects.
.
The flower of being is singing the song of emptiness.
.
The night is still immaculate,
but sounds and images from you
have returned and fill the pure night.
.
I feel their presence.
By the window, with my bare feet on the cool floor,
I know I am here
for you to be.
.
“Call Me By My True Names” 

The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh.

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There is a whisper, but it’s louder than the wind.
It calls to us, “Come Home. The story is over, the pages are worn thin. Come
home.” It’s like a chant,
a sacred OM underlying all else. It requires no doing anything, or going
anywhere or becoming anything.
If only we see that we are this whispering sound,
all else will dissolve into peace.

~Rafael Stoneman

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Everything I steal, I give away.
Once, in pines almost as tall as these,
same crescent moon sliding gently by,
I sat curled on my knees, smoking with a friend,
sipping tea, swapping Coyote tales and lies.

He said something to me
about words, that each is a name,
and that every name is God’s. I who have
no god sat in the vast emptiness silent
as I could be. A way that can be named

is not the way. Each word reflects
the Spirit which can’t be named. Each word
a gift, its value in exact proportion
to the spirit in which it is given.
Thus spoken, these words I give

by way of Lao Tzu’s old Chinese, stolen
by a humble thief twenty-five centuries later.
The Word is only evidence of the real:
in the Hopi tongue, there is no whale;
and, in American English, no Fourth World.

Sam Hamill

 

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When the heart is hard and parched up,
    come upon me with a shower of mercy.

When grace is lost from life,
    come with a burst of song.

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides
    shutting me out from beyond,
    come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.

When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner,
    break open the door, my king,
    and come with the ceremony of a king.

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust,
    O thou holy one, thou wakeful,
    come with light and thunder.

Rabindranath Tagore
Gitanjali

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By Ross Bolleter Roshi

.

” When Michal, my composer friend from Slovakia, was driving me out from Bratislava to show me the eastern regions of this country, especially his birthplace Lengow, in the foothills of the High Tatras, he asked me a lot of questions about Zen and how to live it. I found his questions challenging – such questions always are – but their radical simplicity was far more confronting because I spoke no Slovak and he spoke just enough English for us to deal with practical matters and in a vague way to feel out the contours of each other’s lives.

Once he asked me, ‘What is Zen?’ and I replied that ‘the countryside looked splendid now that the sun had come up.’ As always after my responses to his questions he would remain thoughtfully silent, however, as we neared his home village he said, ‘I like the jokes in your religion, but I don’t think I would do the meditation.’ Sensing my disappointment, he went on, ‘But I would do Great Aunt Meditation’. ‘Well, what would that be?’ I asked doubtfully. ‘Great Aunt Meditation is chicken meditation. My great Aunt spends all afternoon in front of her fire. For hour after hour there she is in her chair, looking like she is asleep. But she knows where very chicken is and which way the wind is blowing and what loaf of rye bread the pantry mouse is munching.’ When we meditate we let the world be as it is; we let our heart just be. Then what is there can be, as W.A. Mathieu describes sounds as nourishment, holy food, and best friend. The plane roars through opening up your heart; you hum that old love song as you move from paying bills, to shopping to writing a difficult letter and the humming confirms it.

There is an old Taoist saying, ‘The hen can hatch her eggs because her heart is always listening.’ When we listen to hear another’s pain in their critical words, when we listen to our own pain when we are criticized, the depth of and warmth of our attending opens up the way for life to appear.

Later, in Lengow, I met Michal’s Great Aunt. She was frail, almost totally blind. Michal talked family with her in Slovak. She responded in rivers of Ruthenian. I listened in English. She plied me with Polish vodka. If you can’t understand at least you can drink! Michal asked me to explain Zen to her. I said, ‘Ask her if the birds are singing in her heart!’ Maybe he did, but she just poured me another vodka. As she laboured to get another log on the fire, Michal told me that it took her an-hour-and- a- half to get to church. ‘How far is the church?’ I asked for the village was tiny. ‘Oh about a hundred metres’, he said. ‘Is that because she is blind, because she can barely walk?’ ‘Yes. But mostly because she keeps stopping to enjoy what she can make out of the shadow and light. She picks up rocks and pebbles so she can feel them, talks to the dogs and cats, and to anyone she meet. It’s a long journey.


Ross Bolleter


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silence

Silence is a great help to a seeker after truth. In the attitude
of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light and what is
elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our
life is a long and arduous quest after Truth, and the
soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height.
~Mohandas K Gandhi

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one day the heart was heavy. . . . the chambers constricted. . . .beating like
a swan running on tangled sod. . . . concerned about some unborn thing. . .
. a constriction of the knotted heart with no thoughts of flight. . . the noise of the mind
entangled and blocked by weeds. . . . till there was no room to move . . . i fluttered
without gracefulness to the center of the lake, which humans call silence. . . . then. . . .
peace  found  in the underside of tired wings that rested on the lake. . . . while the heart
in it’s feathers pounded softer and softer. . . . and i surrendered into the One that is
always present and able to bear the totality of all heaviness and all heaven. . . . .
.
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