Tag Archives: Silence

The Beauty of Silence, Meditation and Donuts

IMG_3402There’s nothing like a donut to bring two people together.

I brought my truck in for a long overdue oil change yesterday.  My five year-old son came with me and we decided the one hour wait would be a perfect opportunity to visit the donut shop next door.  We hustled in from the cold and ordered up a couple of hot chocolates and sweet treats.

I invited my little man to choose our table and he pointed toward a two-top in the far corner.  The space felt noticeably peaceful.  Nearby three old men sat reading the paper, enjoying a warm ray of sunlight shining through floor-to-ceiling windows.  We smiled at them as we passed and I followed my son to the corner, listening to the quick, rhythmic shoosh-shoosh-shoosh of his snow pants he walked through the quiet shop.

We sat down and got cozy, shaking off our jackets and releasing shocks of staticy hair from under our hats, then reached for our goodies.  I unwrapped my go-to flavor, Boston Cream, and he slowly revealed own his favorite, Strawberry Sprinkled.  He laid the pink donut on a napkin and sipped his cocoa, “Too hot!”  I peeled off the cap and poured in a little more milk.  He tried it again.  “Mmmmm.  ‘S good.”

“What happened in school today, buddy?”

No answer.

“Did you learn anything new?”

Shrug.

He was not interested in conversation.  He pushed his cocoa aside and turned his focus on the awaiting spongey delight.  I decided to stop talking and simply enjoy the sight of my little guy wholly engaging in an exquisite eating meditation.

With deep concentration he examined his snack on the table.  He picked it up and sunk his teeth in.  When a tiny red jimmy toppled onto his napkin, he pinched it between his thumb and forefinger and meticulously nestled it back into the icing.  He chewed and paused and chewed some more.  He lifted the donut high above his head with one hand, clearly in awe of its deliciousness.  He held it up to me as if to say, Look, Mamma, isn’t it beautiful?  But he didn’t utter a word.  He just returned his full awareness to the slow and methodical extinction of one pink donut.  He carefully selected which portion to bite, mindful to save the sweetest bit for last.  He chewed and relished and appreciated the donut so entirely, I could only imagine that for him, in those moments, not one other thing existed in the whole wide world.

The last bite was upon him.  He popped it into his mouth, chewed for a long while, swallowed, then tossed his head back in the chair, staring at the ceiling, seemingly reconciling the experience.

I paused to take in the warm hush of the donut shop.  And I realized that silence is a pretty amazing way to communicate.

I smiled then laughed out loud.  I told him I loved him.

“I love you, too, Mamma,” he finally responded.

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Peace Like Never Before: Awakening to Joy with Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo Final Front Cover Reduced to JoyThe things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at the deepest, most soulful level. Though Mark Nepo‘s writing has been with us for a while, it wasn’t until Oprah received a copy of Mark’s Book of Awakening through one of her staff assistants that it came to the notice of millions. This all happened at a critical time.

I first interviewed Mark around the time he’d just lost his day job and faced some health problems. At what seemed like one of his darker hours, Oprah also discovered Mark’s work, and that darkness turned to light as his book, which he’d written some ten years earlier, became a New York Times bestselling book. Oprah recently did two more interviews with him for upcoming shows from her home in Hawaii. Regarding all the success, Mark remains grateful but unfazed by the recognition of his work, and he continues to teach and practice presence in much the same way as before. I asked him to share some his recent experiences, as well as tell us more about his latest book, Reduced to Joy. He’s also offered us one of the poems from his book at the end of this post.

Debra Moffitt: You have written about awakening, silence, and finally joy. Reduced to Joy, your latest book of poems, feels like a culmination of your many years of spiritual connection. Are joy and bliss the final experiences that arrive on the spiritual journey?

Mark Nepo: I’m not sure there is any final experience to this mysterious journey. I think we continue to be brought closer and closer to the aliveness we carry. For me, joy is different than happiness. While happiness is a fleeting mood, joy is larger and more lasting than any one feeling. If each feeling is a wave of emotion, then joy is the ocean that holds all feelings. As I get older, I’m coming to realize that joy is central to our knowing peace. It’s one deep way that we access Oneness. I’m also beginning to see that joy is the hum of Oneness. It’s the sensation of being connected to life itself. Another way to speak of joy is to say that it’s the reward for facing our experience. Often, what keeps us from joy is the menacing assumption that life is happening other than where we are. So we are always leaving, running from or running to. What keeps us from joy, then, is often not being where we are and not valuing what is before us.

 Debra Moffitt: How did Reduced to Joy come into being?

Mark Nepo: Poems come slowly. They break surface like dolphins after long stretches of going under. So writing a book of poems for me is different than writing my other books. I have to sit when I’m able and try to make heart-sense of what life has been doing to me and with me. Like wringing out a sponge, I squeeze what matters onto the page, let it dry, and see what’s there the next day. One by one, they gather into an instructive whole. All this is to say that by trying to make sense of my own experience, I’ve discovered a theme to the journey, that we are all reduced to joy, worn away of all excess. To survive this, we often need to hold each other up in order to discover and return to what matters. This book explores these essential relationships, which keep shaping me.

Debra Moffitt: I love the title of your book. As your poem, “Where is God?” expresses, it seems that once all is stripped away there’s nothing more to obscure joy. Can you speak more to what joy is and is not and how we might know the difference? 

Mark Nepo: After all these years, I’m beginning to see that tranquility is the depth of being that holds what we think and feel, not the still point after we’ve silenced what we think and feel. Serenity is the depth of being that holds difficulty, not the resting point after we’ve ended difficulty. And peace is the depth of being that holds suffering and doubt, not the raft we climb on to avoid suffering and doubt. This leads us to joy, which is much deeper and larger than any one feeling. Happiness, fear, anxiety, contentment, doubt, regret, unworthiness, anger, despair—all these and more are the waves that rise and fall in the sea of being.

 Debra Moffitt: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers? 

Mark Nepo: These poems have been retrieved and shaped over the last thirteen years. They have been my teachers about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy. My hope is that the poems in this book will serve as a threshold to an underlying connection to the greater life we are all a part of. I hope the book will be a resource for you when faced with the difficulties of living. I hope the poems will confirm that, no matter the struggle you find yourself in, you are not alone. May these poems be honest companions on the journey to joy.

A Poem from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo reprinted with his permission.

Where is God? 

 It’s as if what is unbreakable—
the very pulse of life—waits for
everything else to be torn away,
and then in the bareness that
only silence and suffering and
great love can expose, it dares
to speak through us and to us.
It seems to say, if you want to last,
hold on to nothing. If you want
to know love, let in everything.
If you want to feel the presence
of everything, stop counting the
things that break along the way.
* * *
Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Emptiness Dancing

Desperation; Who holds your heart?This entire living world–including these forms we call self– is a creative arising and dissolving of empty awareness. I love the Zen phrase “emptiness dancing,” because it recognizes the inseparability of formlessness and form, of the awake space of awareness and its expression in aliveness.

Sometimes, when I teach about the ultimate freedom of realizing selflessness and emptiness dancing, students ask if this means turning away from personal growth and service. Is this just another way to devalue the life we are living here and now? If we find inner freedom, will we still be interested in healing ourselves and our world?

Whenever these questions come up, I usually recall Mari, who started attending meditation classes when she realized she was burning out after working more than a decade as a fund-raiser for a large human rights group. At that time, the political environment had gotten increasingly nasty, rival factions were vying for control of the organization, donors were scarce, and she was questioning the ethics of some of her colleagues. When I met her, Mari had given notice and wanted nothing to do with politics or activism. She was done.

Over the next four years, Mari worked at a sporting-goods store, attended meditation classes and retreats, and found the time to reconnect with a former passion: bird-watching. After a meditation class, she told me, “It’s during those walks, during the early morning hours of watching and listening, that I come home to silence, to my own presence.” In that attentive silence, Mari’s love affair with birds deepened. “They are not something outside of me,” she told me, “they are part of my inner landscape.” As she grew more alarmed about habitat loss, though, Mari realized her activist life was not over.

As we explored this together in a counseling session, Mari began to trust that this time around, things would be different. So, she agreed to fund-raise for an environmental group, even while  knowing that there would be conflicting egos within this organization, and that she would inevitably have bouts of discouragement. Mari had found refuge; she knew she could reconnect with the awareness that gives rise to birds and trees, to egos and discouragement, to the entire play of life. She could remember the wisdom of emptiness dancing, and serve this imperfect world.

Spiritual teacher Adyashanti, who wrote a book called Emptiness Dancing, suggests that as we move through the day, we ask: “How is emptiness or awareness experiencing this (eating, walking outside, showering, talking)?”I also like to ask myself, “How is this empty, awake heart experiencing what’s happening?”

It’s illuminating to step out of our story of self, and simply receive sensations, feelings, and sounds from the perspective of heart and awareness. We’re not in opposition to anything, or resisting or evaluating anything; we’re just letting life flow through us.

Whenever I pay attention like this, I’m not at all removed from life. Rather, without the self-focus, I become part of the flow of aliveness. Just as the river knows how to flow around rocks, I can then respond intuitively to life’s unfolding. I’m more spontaneous in the moment, more naturally clear and caring in my response to what’s around me. I’ve seen this happen with others too. Whether we’re serving or savoring, whenever there’s an awareness of emptiness dancing, we become wholehearted in how we live. This is true even in the face of inevitable loss.

A few years ago, I read a memorable story about violinist Itzhak Perlman. Perlman had polio when he was a young child, and at each of his performances he makes a slow entrance on crutches, sits down, unclasps the braces on his legs, then prepares to play. He did this as usual at a 1995 performance at Lincoln Center in New York. On this occasion, however, he’d only played the first few bars when one of the strings on his violin broke. The whole audience could hear the crack when it snapped. What will happen next, they wondered. Will he have to put on his braces, make his way across the stage, find another violin?

He sat still, closed his eyes, and paused. Then he signaled for the conductor to begin again. Perlman reentered the concerto, playing with an unimaginable passion, power, and purity. Perhaps some of those watching could sense him modulating, changing, reconfiguring the piece in his head, so deep was his immersion in creating. When he finished there was an awed silence. Then came the outburst of applause as people rose and cheered from every corner of the hall.

Perlman smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, and raised his bow to quiet the crowd. Then he spoke, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone. “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

Recently I was disappointed to learn that this story has been called into question, but the message stays with me. We weigh down our lives with memories of how it used to be and fears of what we have yet to lose. Yet when we surrender into the living moment, we, like Perlman, become emptiness dancing—a part of the creative flow. We respond with a tender heart to our world’s pain and beauty. We make music with what we have left.

Adapted from True Refuge (2013)

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Terrifying Stillness

CarolineMuellerPhotography_Wessinger2013 7I just finished my first clean eating cleanse. It was simple, but like most things described as simple it was anything but easy. Three weeks of eating incredibly healthy. No coffee, alcohol, refined sugar, gluten filled carbs…did I say no coffee?

The first week was rough eating just veggies, and a lentil here and there. The coffee thing was the hardest. I love the taste and the ritual of it in the dark mornings, but I don’t love being a slave to the drug. I felt like it was coffee in the morning, and a “wine down” (as my friend Amber likes to say) in the evening. In between was a mixture of extremely healthy food, a burger here and there, a few kid snacks and chocolate. My husband found it odd that I felt the need to do a clean eating cleanse as I eat healthier than the average person. I have to eat this way though as I have had hereditarily high cholesterol since childhood. I was starting to feel like I didn’t have a grasp on my coffee habit, sugar habit, and wine habit. Cleanse to the rescue!

For the first week while forgoing coffee (and wine…and sugar) there was an odd, quiet hole I started to feel. It is a space I used to feel in my mid-20’s once in a while, but it hasn’t shown its face in a good five years or so. Almost like a subtle physical thirst but I knew nothing I could drink would quench it. It was like I needed to put something in my body to fill a hole, but no tangible thing could fill that hole. I only felt this eerie space when I was alone. It was brief and occasional, but viscerally penetrating. It was a time which during my mom’s life was starting to end. Maybe it was the whole she was starting to carve out as she left this earth. Maybe it was simply stillness that made me uncomfortable.

Last night I taught a restorative yoga class to a packed studio. We don’t offer it on the regular schedule so when I do offer the class I get a great response. Some people crave it, asking me again and again when it will be offered next. Some people come to lovingly support me as a teacher and friend, or maybe to try something new. Some people aren’t quite sure why they’re there.

I read the room as we settle in and intuitively guess which category almost every student falls into. It is apparent right away that several students can’t stand the silence. We have music and I led the class through a spiritual awakening theme, but there was much silence of the body.

Until recently I didn’t understand the concept of letting the body just be. I thought hell, my time is valuable and if I am going to get on the mat I am going to work my butt off. I even did a five day intensive workshop with Judith Lasater and although I adore her depth of mind, I still didn’t think I needed restorative yoga. I still didn’t think the concept of allowing myself to just be applied to me.

It doesn’t need to take a lot of time. At home I get on my mat and spend 15 – 20 minutes in one pose. My body leads me to what it needs that day. There has been an incredible gift to being alone and still with my breath. As I feel a subtlety of space like never before I am learning to more confidently revisit softness, knowing I am not losing some fictitious battle by taking a step back. I am learning to walk steady into nothingness. I am learning to be OK with not doing anything at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love more than anything to teach and take a sweaty kick ass yoga class. It is my first passion to bring my body to the mat in this way as much as I can. I have found intense healing and breakthrough after breakthrough in my practice and in my life after countless sessions. I aim to practice intensely in a way that also heals so I can do this forever. I love it. It is my religion. I also recognize though that I can stay more present with the intensity than I can with the quiet and still. Being alone with my breath, even with 50 other yogis in the room, scares the shit out of me. The still silence is terrifying. But I am starting to set my power yoga ego aside once in a while and realize that in a world of accomplish, do, strive, overcome…there has to be room just to be.

Now, as I start to feel this space reappear as I ingest less toxins and take a few minutes for nothingness, I stay. I stay and curiously sent some breath into this place. I stay with the discomfort of an unknown emptiness, knowing there is something there for me. I ask questions of my soul. Why are you so terrified of the quiet? Where is that young girl who loved to be alone? What happened to make her afraid of space?

I am grateful for the life that allows me to even be able to ask such questions of myself. I am grateful for the life that allows me to choose what I eat. I am grateful for the life that allows me to share my deepest soul work. So grateful.

 

Noise Pollution and the Spirituality of Silence

“Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon my home town.”  That’s how Garrison Keillor  begins his popular radio monologue about a fictional place in Minnesota where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average. And with the exception of a few fishing boats and some ambient noise from the Side Track Tap, it’s apparently pretty quiet there.

Good for them.

Noise doesn’t just increase our chances of deafness. Surrounded by high decibels, we can suffer memory loss, more stress and we sleep less. Not a recipe for health. New York City became much more pleasant when laws were passed eliminating horn honking. Some countries (e.g. Germany) have passed strict laws governing sound pollution. In Berlin, for instance, nights and all Sundays are quiet, except for church bells, emergency sirens, snow plows… and children.

It’s hard to imagine a European city without squealing mopeds.

 Acoustic pollution from ships and sonar testing  in marine environments has emerged as a growing environmental concern due to its potential to affect cetaceans and other species by altering naturally occurring underwater  soundscapes.

Oceans are just one place you might expect to find quiet.  Or, “Get thee to a nunnery!” Or visit a desert, an island, the woods, a mountain top. Or maybe Antarctica. Admiral Richard Byrd, who spent an entire polar winter alone, said of the quiet, “I am thrown upon myself.”  Silence does that to you. The Catholic monk, Thomas Merton, calls this kind of quiet contemplation, “Listening to the Silence of God.”

When my husband and I left behind the sirens, horns, dogs, and rapper music of Mass. Ave. in Cambridge to move to central Vermont, one morning I said, “It’s so quiet up here, I can hear the chickadees chewing.” 

I learned a great deal about silence from Sara Maitland’s book, appropriately called A Book of Silence.   She spent three years writing it, surrounded by the moor-quiet of Weardale, a remote spot in northern England. It brought back memories of one of my own quiet weekends alone in an tiny English village near Oxford. I went for a walk and a pheasant stepped on my foot as a fox sat nearby watching us both.  All in silence. Suddenly I was very awake! Maitland also discovered that silence truly does enhance all your senses. Furthermore, silence brings up thoughts of both death and birth. Perhaps that’s why so many people fear quiet emptiness. But John Cage, the musician who wrote silence into his compositions, claims there is no such thing as empty space or empty time. I think he may be right. Even as I sit on a bench in my still woods, I hear the wind in the trees.

Once on a desert retreat Maitland discovered that quiet is more than a context for prayer. “It is, in itself, a form of freedom; it generates freedom, free choices, inner clarity, strength. A freedom from one’s self and a freedom to be oneself.”

This is the quiet week when many of us Christians turn inward, contemplating Christ’s death and his resurrection. Sometimes I think Jerusalem back then must have been almost as noisy as Mass Ave. Merchants hawking their wares, camels and donkeys braying, Romans clanking armor. Small wonder Jesus invited his closest friends up into an olive grove to get some quiet away-time before all hell broke lose, so to speak.

Every week can be a quiet week in our own Lake Wobegons if we look around for those quiet places. And just float a bit.

photo by: Ha-Wee

What Is Your Life Story?

All creatures are born inescapably defined by their stories, yet if we remain limited by those definitions we live a life of inner bondage. When we recognize the stories that generate our definitions of ourselves, we are closer to the discovery of what is indefinable within us. That discovery reveals inner freedom and lasting fulfillment.

Each life form has a beginning, an arc of a life story, and then an ending. Most of our internal and external attention and communication circle around the particulars of how we define ourselves as collective life and how we define ourselves, or others, as particular life. Other animals, trees, flowers, butterflies, spiders, rocks, planets and solar systems also have their stories, and the broadcasting of their stories is both our greatest entertainment and our inevitable humbling. We can find ourselves, or parts of ourselves, in all stories and we can separate ourselves through our stories.

We all come from life-giving energy, are infused and animated by life energy to become a particular life-form, and we all end in returning to formless life. Along the way there are small and great dramas, crossroads of destiny and surprises both wondrous and horrific. Some life stories end very quickly and some go on and on. There are countless dramas within this bigger, incomprehensible universal story. Stories are sung, put into sacred books, memorized, dramatized and consulted generation after generation. Our collective cosmic story is a teeming theater of lifeforms appearing and disappearing. Forms are born, live through many stories and then die. Before any form appears, life is here. During the lifetime of any form, life is animating that form. After any particular form dies, life — while withdrawn from that form — remains here. Life is true. It is always here.

Most of my life was spent at war with the characters — including the lead, me — in my story. They weren’t good enough, or smart enough, or deep enough. At one point in the story of me, none of us were rich enough. At another point, when material possessions were disdained, none of us were poor enough. It was never right. It could always be better. Sometime in the future, I could make my story turn out to fit my latest idealization, or so I hoped. For four decades I worked at building a story that would fulfill me. Periods of happiness and peace came and went. Lasting happiness remained out of my grasp. It took some time to realize that the lasting fulfillment I was seeking couldn’t be captured by any story I told about myself. The fulfillment I was seeking in my many attempts to tell a story of victory couldn’t be captured because it is free. It took more time to realize that my story was mysteriously appearing in that which is already fulfilled. It was a beautiful and wonderful shock to discover that freedom and fulfillment were never absent whatever the latest rendition of my story. My story was an individual display of the search for the living free consciousness already inhabiting each character. When I recognized the silent fulfilled core in all versions of myself — and all the others in my story — I could rest. In the spaciousness of rest, I could begin to live my life from fulfillment, rather than continuing to search for it.

What is your story? You discover your story by noticing what you are telling yourself over and over. Notice what you tell yourself about your past, your present and your future. In order to have any lasting impact, our stories have to be told and retold. All stories have a narrative. Your narrative is what you tell yourself through thoughts and images with accompanying emotions. What is your narrative? You can check right now. It is bound to be familiar. It is natural as human animals with developed cognitive abilities to generate and follow the narrative of our stories. It certainly is not wrong to do so. But it is limiting. It limits attention to events that are forever changing. To discover how your attention is being spent, discover what you habitually say to yourself. Listen to your narrative while suspending belief in it.

All definitions and stories arise from the silent core, and in surrender all are then pointers to where they come from and where they return at their end. In surrender all is transparent from the luminosity of your naked self.

This blog is adapted from Gangaji’s new book, Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story, which was published by Penguin Tarcher in 2011. In this life-changing book, Gangaji uses the telling of her own life story to help readers uncover the truth in their own. Publisher’s Weekly said, “This gently flowing but often disarming volume invites readers to examine the narratives that shape them, and is a call to pass beyond personal stories to find a deeper, more universal self.” Visit www.gangaji.org for more information about Gangaji and her upcoming events, including the monthly Webcast / Conference Series, With Gangaji, which is currently undergoing an in-depth study of Hidden Treasure.

VIDEO: Deepening into Presence

In this video, Leonard Jacobson offers guidance on how we can deepen into Presence and make the present moment the foundation of our lives. He identifies the story that the majority of humanity is lost in and explains how we can free ourselves from this world of illusion and truly be here. Finally, Leonard reveals who we are when we relax out of the mind and settle into Presence, where life becomes simple, uncomplicated, and fulfilling.

Leonard Jacobson’s latest book, Journey into Now, is a complete guide along the path of awakening.

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Each moment has its infinity

Here I am
 
Where is here?
 
Is here this place?
or is here the thoughts here?
 
Is here this body?
or is here what this body feels?
 
Is this a place?
Is this a body?
Is this a thought?
Is this a consciousness?
 
I am here
 
But what am I?
 
Am I this body?
or am I occupying this body?
 
Am I this here?
or am I the consciousness of here?
 
And what is here?
 
What I see?
What I think?
What I feel? Or,
What I remember?
 
All those change,
so does here change?
 
Do I change?
 
What doesn’t change?
 
If there is a no changing,
and I do change
Then why?
 
Why do I change?
Why am I not the same?
 
Why is here always changing?
Why does the changing remain?
 
Whatever I am,
I experience the changes
I see the changes
I feel the changes
I recognize the changes
and I remember the changes
I am changing
 
Yet I am always here,
I am always changing
 
So what am I?
and why?
 
Maybe consciousness is conscious of itself,
it must be; it is consciousness
 
If I consider everything to be me,
then I am everything
 
If I am everything,
then I am the consciousness of everything
 
If I am the consciousness of everything,
then I am conscious of everything
 
But why here?
Why am I conscious of being conscious of this consciousness?
and not conscious of being conscious of other consciousness?
 
or am I conscious of other consciousness?
by default of thought that it must be so?
By thought that I am conscious of other consciousness?
 
If so,
then why am I not aware?
Why am I here and not aware of other consciousness?
 
Or maybe this here is simply the consciousness of being conscious of this consciousness
And so this here is this consciousness.
 
I forgot,
I asked why.
Why Am I conscious of being conscious of this consciousness?
Because I am conscious of this consciousness,
And conscious of being this consciousness
 
If everything here is me,
And I am everything,
And being everything, I am conscious of everything,
And being conscious of everything, I am the consciousness of everything
 
Everything here,
this consciousness.
 
That is why I am conscious of being conscious of this consciousness
 
Because I am here
 
 
Maybe there is no other consciousness,
Maybe there is
And maybe there is a consciousness here that is conscious of other consciousness
 
But I am here,
And here I am conscious of this
Here I am conscious of this consciousness
 
The answer to the puzzle is silent,
The answer is a consciousness
 
If I am the consciousness of the answer,
then I am not conscious of this consciousness
For this consciousness is not conscious of the consciousness of the answer to the puzzle
 
but I am conscious of the answer,
and I can be the consciousness of the answer
 
Now why am I conscious of this consciousness?
and not of the answer?
 
But I am conscious of the answer consciousness
I am just this consciousness of being conscious of this consciousness
whilst conscious of the answer consciousness
 
Am I, this consciousness?
a part of the answer consciousness?
 
Am I the answer consciousness and so the consciousness of being conscious of the answer consciousness?
 
or am I the answer consciousness because I am aware of the answer consciousness?
 
Or am I, this consciousness,
apart from the answer consciousness?
 
Am I apart?
or not?
 
or maybe I am the answer consciousness
 
But I am not
or am I?
 
I know the answer consciousness
I am aware,
 
I let that be my guide
 
The answer consciousness
 
I am the consciousness of here,
always the consciousness of
 
I can allow the consciousness of being this consciousness
Doing so I can allow even greater consciousness,
or more so a happy consciousness
Embracing and allowing
Being Okay with this consciousness
Accepting it
 
Yes because I am?
Or yes because I want to?
Yes because it is happiness?
Or yes because I have to?
 
Who said I have to?
I did.
 
And who is I?
This consciousness
 
So all that I am
is this consciousness,
And this consciousness is me
 
But what about the answer consciousness?
That’s the answer consciousness
That’s the answer consciousness to the question I pose
I, this consciousness
 
So now what?
Well I like this consciousness
I enjoy it, celebrate it
I now embrace it
So why leave?
And why ask to leave?
Why ask the answer consciousness?
Why then be the answer consciousness, now?
It will always be, it remains the same
It will always be here, just as here is always here
 
Unless this consciousness itself, I, turn into answer consciousness
this consciousness, I, do not have to turn to answer consciousness.
 
And maybe it is time in this consciousness that isn’t conscious of the answer consciousness
Maybe it is just time that poses the question
 
Maybe releasing time, releases the question
and maybe the release is the consciousness of becoming conscious of answer consciousness
But I am always consciousness and so both here and answer consciousness.
I don’t know it because I know time,
I am not conscious of both simultaneously
 
And why is there time then?
 
Is time the enemy?
Is time the cause of consciousness that is conscious of separation?
Or is time the consciousness of separation?
 
 
The answer consciousness is infinite,
and so everything,
and so the consciousness of time also
 
And so consciousness of time is also conscious of the answer consciousness
And so I am also
And that explains it
 
Time is answer consciousness
and time is consciousness of time,
and consciousness of time being conscious of time
So time is answer consciousness as I am answer consciousness
 
Now what was the question?
It seems the question finds its answer
The question consciousness becomes the answer consciousness
or the two blend into one, and then the two are no longer
And then I birth either or and then it finds its pair once more
 
It seems I blend both,
It seems I am the blending
Then the blending is a part of this consciousness
Then the blending is part of me
Then I am blending also
 
Then I am question consciousness, finding answer consciousness
Then I am becoming the answer consciousness
Then I, as this consciousness, am blending with the answer consciousness
Then I and answer consciousness are one
Then I and answer consciousness are no longer
 
That is why the answer is silent
The answer is here, but also not
The answer is,
but once an answer,
this is no longer
 
I know the silence,
it is the answer
But once the answer enters this consciousness and integrates fully
then this consciousness and answer consciousness cease
 
and only silence,
 
And silence is silence to this consciousness
Silence is silent
 
Silence is Silence
 
Here,
Almost silent, yet to be silent
Yet to be silence
 
Here I am

Letting Nature Work: Silent Change

Often, when we are not looking, in the silence of nature’s embrace, the miracle of change happens.

We all see things about ourselves, our relationships, and our world that we want to change. Often, this desire leads us to take action toward inner work that we need to do or toward some external goal. Sometimes, without any big announcement or momentous shift, we wake up to find that change has happened, seemingly without us. This can feel like a miracle as we suddenly see that our self-esteem really does seem to be intact, or our partner actually is helping out around the house more. We may even wonder whether all of our hard work had anything to do with it, or if it just happened by way of grace.

As humans, sometimes we have relatively short attention spans, and we can easily lose track of time. We may worry about a seedling in a pot with our constant attention and watering for several weeks only to find ourselves enjoying the blooms it offers and wondering when that happened, and how we didn’t notice it. Nature, on the other hand, has infinite patience and stays with a thing all the way through its life. This doesn’t mean that our efforts play no part in the miracle of change they do. It’s just that they are one small part of the picture that finally results in the flowering of a plant, the shifting of a relationship, the softening of our hearts.

The same laws that govern the growth of plants oversee our own internal and external changes. We observe, consider, work, and wonder, tilling the soil of our lives, planting seeds, and tending them. Sometimes the hard part is knowing when to stop and let go, handing it over to the universe. Usually this happens by way of distraction or disruption, our attention being called away to other more pressing concerns. And it is often at these times, when we are not looking, in the silence of nature’s embrace, that the miracle of change happens.

Japan Gifts Us an Ocean of Calm

Beneath the surrender of the long standing Japanese culture is a simplistic calm.  They have long been known for simplicity, one that seems very abstract to the west, except with regard to popular culture as it pertains to commercialism.  This notion has nothing to do with calm – the unyielding silence that extends well beyond the shameless borders we seem to call upon.

In calm they present no guilt, no chaos and no tolerance for a world where surroundings and pomp of circumstance dictate a state of mind.  Another popular misconception of calm is the forceful nature portrayed in popular Japanese imagery, movies and so forth.  Why do we need to bend a pristine practice of calm into something that it is not?

Surrender and calm walk hand in hand.

Surrender asks us to eliminate that which obstructs our ability to maneuver in and out of any situation with a deft silence of fortitude, instead of a quick wit or a timely retort.  The latter (calm) once having been achieved within that silence, asks us to remain there indefinitely until we can return without notice as required.

Any object or notion can bring us to the presence of calm.  It awakens us to the idea that abiding in the moment instead of reacting to it has greater merit than we give in to.  Such a contrast to our popular culture isn’t it.  Many try to bring calm into their life but do so in such a hurried fashion, they partake of it on the periphery of life and swim in the shallows, still longing to be elsewhere.

If you find yourself adrift, longing to be elsewhere you are anything but calm.

In perspective to the true identity of the word, calm asks us to remain where we are.  Relaxing can be calm, but learning to relax amid noise, especially noise of the mind or ego is a very frustrating concept for many westerners to believe.

One cannot achieve if one cannot believe.  To believe we must admit the need for absolute surrender to the moment and ask calm to breathe us in instead of the other way around.  Calm looks us over, measures our breath and widens our path for entrance into patterns of silence, nothing more.  No smoke and mirror parlour tricks will achieve calm, only a patient practice, knowing that when it is achieved the mind will be totally at peace and in tune with its surroundings regardless of circumstance.

We do not need to travel to Japan to experience this effect, and many will point to the fact that Japan has moved away from this notion.  Of those that do, only they spend more time surfacing above achievable values and move into the abstract of calm.  This is a clear indication of where they return for inner fortitude and resiliency.

Paper lanterns, bamboo and all the rose petals in the world will never bring about any amount of calm that letting go in surrender will do.  This is the true signal to those who honestly wish to create calm all aspects of living.

Printed with permission by Eric Gainerhttp://www.backyardmystic.com
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