silence is our real nature

This morning, a beautiful offering from Jean Klein – Silence. It’s another gem from my mother’s folder. You may be familiar with it – it’s somewhat of a classic, but if you’re like me you’ll never tire of its wisdom-blessing.

Since every line is a meditation, I have taken some liberty with the formatting.


Rajasthan, India - Tantric painting


Silence is our real nature. What we are, fundamentally, is only silence.

Silence is free from beginning and end. It was before the beginning of all things.

It is causeless. Its greatness lies in the fact that it simply is.

In silence all objects have their home ground.

It is the light that gives objects their shape and form.

All movement, all activity is harmonized by silence.

Silence has no opposite in noise.

It is beyond positive and negative.

Silence dissolves all objects.

It is not related to any counterpart which belongs to the mind. Silence has nothing to do with mind.

It cannot be defined but it can be felt directly because it is our nearness.

Silence is freedom without restriction or center.

It is our wholeness, neither inside nor outside the body.

Silence is joyful, not pleasurable. It is not psychological. It is feeling without a feeler.

Silence needs no intermediary.

Silence is holy. It is healing.

There is no fear in silence.

Silence is autonomous like love and beauty. It is untouched by time.

Silence is meditation, free from any intention, free from anyone who meditates.

Silence is the absence of oneself. Or rather, silence is the absence of absence.

Sound which comes from silence is music. All activity is creative when it comes from silence. It is constantly a new beginning.

Silence precedes speech and poetry and music and all art.

Silence is the home ground of all creative activity. What is truly creative is the word, is Truth.

Silence is the Word. Silence is Truth.

The one established in silence lives in constant offering, in prayer without asking, in thankfulness, in continual love.

– Jean Klein

This short biography of Dr Jean Klein by Andrew Rawlinson is an excellent introduction to an extraordinary sage. [pdf]

Image – anonymous Hindu Tantric painting, Rajasthan, India.
Made using tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged papers, these paintings from Rajasthan form a distinct lexicon dating back to the 17th century. They were/are used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. They are not produced for commercial purposes, but simply pinned up on the wall for use in private meditation.

See Franck André Jamme’s stunning book: Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan

when you know yourself

silence stillness simplicity serenity solitude

keep far away


on saving your own life

shining river


On Saving Your Own Life – November 19, 2009

Yes, it’s a paradox.  You’ve fallen into the wild knowing that the life you thought was ‘yours’, isn’t.  It isn’t yours any more than the rise and fall of your overlooked breath.  You are awake to your wild awakeness.  Well, occasionally.

And yet.

And yet the choices involved in being alive and healthy don’t go away.  It’s a lie to assert that they do, and a trap to believe that they should.  Every minute of every day choices are being made – in most cases, unconsciously.  Patterns of conditioning are playing themselves out, tirelessly.

Wild awakeness – effortless awaring – has a knack of bringing robot-mind into focus.  There’s a glimpse of the old reflexes groaning on.

And at that precise point a nanosecond window of opportunity opens – the story can change.

The ‘I’-stream, the lifestream, can flow in a fresh and unknown course.

(‘I’-stream?  Lifestream?  This language is being invented as writer-mind moves into ineffable territory.  These terms imply something utterly non-personal.  And yet wholly You.)

Life has no agenda other than its ongoing health, wellbeing and survival.  It knows the score in these matters.  And it knows when to withdraw its resources and start over.  That can be pretty tough love.

But for those of us in whom Life still has an investment, the toughest love turns out to be Self-love.  It scares us witless to ponder the ultimate unselfishness of Selfishness.

Yet Life has an awesome way of looking after itself once efforts to contain and control it are deconstructed.  Notions that life needs saving act to build a mega dam across its path – a dam that generates dis-ease and stagnation.

The paradox is only apparent: whatever you choose – whatever – is the movement of Life as it branches, eddies, streams, dances, disappears underground, springs forth, tumbles, flattens out in depression, rages, murmurs, merges, evaporates … while it pretends to be You.

– ml

I wrote the post above almost six years ago. It was early on in the life of this blog – only a few months after the departure of the beloveds whose care and wellbeing had been the focus of my life for the better part of a decade. My health was in tatters. I was receiving treatment for chronic fatigue and was enduring the nightmare of paroxysmal vertigo and nausea. I was slowly learning how to look after ‘my own self’ again.

The vertigo revisited last weekend, severe enough to warrant a little holiday in hospital. On the other side of the experience, I marvel at the way these words remain as relevant as when they were penned. I’m reposting them to remind myself that “the toughest love turns out to be Self-love.” With the world spinning and the stomach heaving it’s easy to overlook the Shining Self. Yet it’s right here, whirling like a dervish, inviting me to release, relax, weep, disappear altogether into its subterranean womb – into Rio Abajo Rio – the great river beneath the river of the world.

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes,

Each woman has potential access to Rio Abajo Rio, this river beneath the river. She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayer making, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness. A woman arrives in this world-between worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye. She arrives there by deeply creative acts, through intentional solitude, and by practice of any of the arts. And even with these well-crafted practices, much of what occurs in this ineffable world remains forever mysterious to us, for it breaks physical laws and rational laws as we know them.

I would add that we can also arrive there unintentionally, unexpectedly, delivered by grief or illness or any experience that knocks us out of our ‘normal’ sense of self, and that our arrival is always the necessary Grace for the deepening and widening of Love’s embrace of Itself: the ultimate Selfishness.

Image by Reuters from Google.


a duet of paradox and praise

Two heart-healing poems from Chuck Surface.

I found these on the poetry blog – being silently drawn – one of my favourite online oases for mind medicine. Thank you Tina Koskelo.

First, the paradox of our wideawakeness: How can it be that we are not this or that but thisthat? How can it be that we are simultaneously wave and particle? How can we reconcile apparent dualism with the unsplitable reality of our experience? As it turns out, this endeavour on the part of the insatiable thinker is less paradoxical than it would have us believe.

Like, can there be more than one meaning to ONE?

And then, a little hymn to the Beloved.


Richard Diebenkorn - Coffee, 1959


cream, two sugars, please


Within… Fullness, Completion, and Bliss,

Without… She prefers milk chocolate to dark.


Within… nothing can be added, nothing taken away,

Without… everything comes to Her, and goes.


Within… Unmoving, Ineffable Sublimity,

Without… She experiences ever changing manifestation.


Within… joy and sorrow have never been,

Without… She Shines, even in the midst of tears.


Within… time and space have never existed,

Without… She is born, grows old, and dies.


Within… within and without never were,

Without… within and without ever are.


Within… no preferences, propensities, proclivities,

Without… cream, two sugars, please.


Within… The Sun Shines,

Without… All is Illumined.





There’s no intimacy in talking “about” The Beloved,

Moving away from Her into words and concepts,

As if She is not Present.


How rude.


She exists in the Quiet Stillness of our Heart,

When Attention returns from outward wandering,

And falls into Her awaiting arms.


How Inexpressibly Beautiful.


Some have turned Her into a science,

And argue Her existence, lawyerly.

They know nothing of Her.


Arid minds.


She cannot be “proven” through argument,

Or anyone “convinced” of Her reality,

Short of direct Experience.


Direct… Experience.


Only Longing entices the Beloved,

From Her Secret Garden…

In the Cave of your Heart.


How Ineffably… Sublime.


Chuck’s poetry website is In the Garden of the Beloved – a place to rest, and be both soothed and intoxicated.

Richard Diebenkorn, Coffee, 1959; oil on canvas, 57 1/2 in. x 52 1/4 in.
[Did you notice the bindi?]

Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

the primary fact

Sometimes a stunning image calls for an equally knock-out quote. I’m moved to post this one from Nisargadatta, because there’s so much misunderstanding around the ‘primary fact’. It shows up as stories that equate Reality with divine or sublime objects, or posit that it’s an experience one should strive to attain (via a smorgasbord of profit-earning materials and activities). It’s touted to ‘bring’ peace, happiness, awakening, enlightenment, and of course the obliteration of all our messy emotions as well as the problems we have with ‘others’.

Bring? The primary fact is that these supposed attributes are immanent in every case.

The primary fact is not metaphorical, mythical, magical or mystical. It’s not able to be experienced yet all experiences depend upon it for their existence. It is prior to anything conceivable and depends upon nothing for its absolute and ever-available presence.

And yet: It can only be apperceived as its display. How sweet is that?


Tree of Life: photograph by Kenneth Mucke


Beyond the mind there is no such thing as experience.

Experience is a dual state.

You cannot talk of reality as an experience. Once this is understood, you will no longer look for being and becoming as separate and opposite. In reality they are one and inseparable like roots and branches of the same tree.

Both can exist only in the light of consciousness, which again, arises in the wake of the sense ‘I am’.

This is the primary fact.

If you miss it, you miss all.

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That


What are the implications of this view?

There is only The Dance. Today you are as twinkle-toed as a prima ballerina. Yesterday you dragged those feet as though they were cast in lead. Tomorrow? Who knows what will arise and choreograph your steps with exquisite fidelity to your patterned preferences and aversions?

It’s all the same, beloveds: Reality r-e-a-l-s on regardless; it only has one pair of shoes.


the great perfection

Photograph: Tree of Life, copyright Kenneth Mucke: more information here.

you are the light of the world

You are the Light of the World


There is only one thing that stands in the way of our radiant true nature of innate unconditional happiness and peace and living light. It is our negative, self-defeating, insecure thoughts and beliefs, and the actions and behaviors that flow from such thoughts and beliefs.

We can habitually become so absorbed into such thoughts that they begin to take us over and define us and project them selves out into the world around us, as “us”. But we do not have to believe these thoughts. They do not really define who we are. They define who we have THOUGHT we are.

In reality, we are undefinable. We are a radiant light that spontaneously shines through us in a somewhat different way in each moment. How can THAT really be defined? 

But we can begin to question all these thoughts that block the light. Questioning them is itself, a powerful spiritual practice. This questioning will weaken these thoughts and beliefs and will eventually, dislodge them.

And when they begin to dislodge themselves and fall away, our true, radiant, peaceful and unconditionally happy nature can shine forth into a world that so desperately needs it! The source of this light is the same light in all of us. It is the same source in you and in me. But it shines through you and through me in an absolutely unique and wonderful way that can never be reproduced again.

If we don’t let this light loose in our world, it will be a great loss for the world and for us. We are here to shine, to radiate this light out into our world in our own unique way, so that those living around us can enjoy it and dance with it. And we are also here to simply enjoy the shining of that light ourselves! We too can dance with the light!

– Francis Bennett

Sourced from Francis Bennett’s Facebook Page; used with permission.

Francis Bennett was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for a number of years.

In 2010, while in the middle of a Church Service in his monastery in Montreal, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness”, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker.

Francis is now living a “new incarnation” as a spiritual teacher in the contemporary, Non-Dual spiritual Tradition. Francis offers a blend of the Buddhist Traditions he deeply studied, the contemplative Christian mystical tradition which he lived during his many years in monastic life, as well as the Hindu Advaita-Vedanta teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who has been a very profound influence on Francis for about the last 12 years or so.

Sourced from Francis’s website: finding grace at the center

Image source

my brilliant image

light will someday split you open

questions about angels

Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison


Of all the questions you might want to ask

about angels, the only one you ever hear

is how many can dance on the head of a pin.


No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time

besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin

or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth

or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.


Do they fly through God’s body and come out singing?

Do they swing like children from the hinges

of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?

Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?


What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,

their diet of unfiltered divine light?

What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall

these tall presences can look over and see hell?


If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole

in a river and would the hole float along endlessly

filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?


If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive

in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume

the appearance of the regular mailman and

whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?


No, the medieval theologians control the court.

The only question you ever hear is about

the little dance floor on the head of a pin

where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.


It is designed to make us think in millions,

billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse

into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:

one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,

a small jazz combo working in the background.


She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful

eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over

to glance at his watch because she has been dancing

forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.


– Billy Collins,  Questions About Angels: Poems
 Copyright © 1991

Sourced from the deliciously uplifting blog of Krayna Castelblaum – gratitude!

Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison



4am. Suddenly wideawake. Deep winter darkness. A hushed silence broken by one word echoing through the field called body:


I sat up. Lit a candle. Renounce? How curious that this unlikely word arose in mind here, at exactly the same time in the morning (it was a Saturday, too) as when she exhaled her last.

Pedant that I am, I reached sleepily for the dictionaries. I’m aware that my native tongue often hides subtle meanings beneath its everyday usage. First I clarified the breadth of meaning; as I did so the word took on skin-prickling relevance to my life, as it plays, nowadays.

Well, I thought, this is worth a scribble.

The dictionaries elicited an unarguable take on the life of this unofficial renunciate – I’ve inserted the gist into the pasted dictionary text:

Renounce – (rɪˈnaʊns)
v.t. & i., & n.

1. Consent formally to abandon, surrender, give up, (claim, right, possession).

– abandon, surrender, give up, all claims of personal doership, all stories of trauma, blame and fault, all rights to fruits of actions (especially those applauded), all possessions that are subject to change…

2. Repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association or disclaim relationship with, withdraw from, discontinue, forsake, (~ treaty, principles, person’s authority, all thought of, design, attempt, friend, friendship; ~ the world, abandon society or temporal affairs).

– repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association AND disclaim relationship with all that does not enliven, beautify, arouse gentleness and kindness; any phenomena (including people) posing as the Real or the agent of the Real. (The Real has no agents. Unless you include everything.)

– withdraw from, discontinue, forsake all conditioned assertions which deny the actual intimacy and interdependence of all Life. 

3. Refuse or resign right or position esp. as heir or trustee.

– refuse to take any hierarchical, authoritative position, or allow others to sign one up. (Which is not to abdicate responsibility, but to be perfectly placed – in choiceless awareness – to act in the instant.)

4. Give up some habit, pursuit, etc, voluntarily, e.g. to renounce smoking.

– give up the habit of pretending to be an unawakened ‘me’. It’s entirely dishonest.

5. In Card Games – to failure to follow suit because one has no cards of the same suit led.

– and in the Life Game, fail to follow, always. Repeat – fail to follow. The lifemap wearing one’s name is unique – a one-off – its unfolding exquisitely designed according to Life’s unknowable agenda (and being a groupie is always a self-betrayal).

[From Old French renoncer, from Latin renuntiāre to disclaim, from re-+ nuntiāre to announce, from nuntius messenger – Collins English Dictionary and The Concise Oxford Dictionary]

Five times I say: I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.

And another twice, because I’m fond of sevens (and so was she):

I do. I do.

– miriam louisa

Painting by Sophie Ploeg