silence stillness simplicity serenity solitude

How wondrous that the words most intensely meaningful for me at present – in my mountain hermitage – all begin with the letter ‘s’.   Aren’t these words delicious?  Can’t you feel the way each one somehow lifts you by the heart-strings, delivering you into the mystery beyond words?

Longtime readers of this little blog will be familiar with my abiding love of retreats of any kind.  Oh, the sublime depth of noble silence, the absence of encroachment by mind-fueled noise!  In the days of Great Busyness my torpedo-like life needed the balance gifted by formal retreat.  Here on Kiels Mountain I relish each of these words and I smile, recognizing that my appetite for retreat has manifested a full-time “retreat lifestyle”.

Slow motion opens the mind.
Smooth motion opens the heart.
Slow smooth motion
turns on
the inexplicable delight.
– Paul Reps

This post is a smorgasbord of offerings from some favorite writers and sages.

.

Ura-Senke: approach to the Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

Silence and spaciousness go together.
The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a center does not exist.

– J Krishnamurti

*

Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing will not understand.

Return to the root and you will find the Meaning.

Persue the Light, and you will lose its source.

There is no need to seek Truth: only stop having opinions.

– Seng-ts’an / Sosan

*

Silence is not acoustic.  It is a change of mind, a turning around.

– John Cage

*

Silent and serene, forgetting words
Bright clarity appears before you.

When you reflect it, you become vast.
Where you embody it, you are uplifted.

Solitary and shining, a river of stars,
Snow covered pines,
Clouds enveloping the peak.

In darkness it is most bright,
While hidden all the more manifest.

The crane dreams in the winter mist.
The autumn waters flow far in the distance.
Endless kalpas are totally empty,
All things completely the same.

When wonder exists in serenity,
all achievement is forgotten in illumination.

Only silence is the supreme speech,
Only illumination the universal response.

Responding without falling into achievement,
Speaking without involving listeners,
The ten thousand forms majestically glisten
And expound the dharma.

– Wanshi Shogaku

*

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.

– Thomas Merton

*

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi.
Once he said to me.

“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”

One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
all of
us.

– Mirabi

*

That’s all you have to do – just abide in that stillness.

If you know how to be with that stillness without looking for anything else then that stillness is no longer just a stillness and that stillness is the Buddha Mind, it is the luminous awareness.

In that stillness you are going to discover your true nature.

The discovery of your true nature is the true liberation, is the bodhi, is the great awakening.

– Tulku Thubten Rinpoche

*

I teach silence
in all languages
through intensive examination of:
the starry sky,
the Sinanthropus’ jaws,
a grasshopper’s hop,
an infant’s fingernails,
plankton,
a snowflake.

– Wislawa Szymborska
Classifieds

*

… full understanding can come to you only through an inexpressible mystery.

The approach to it is called the Gateway of the Stillness beyond all Activity.

If you wish to understand, know that a sudden comprehension comes when the mind has been purged of all the clutter of conceptual and discriminatory thought-activity.

Those who seek the truth by means of intellect and learning only get further and further away from it.

Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.

– Huang Po

*

In the end it’s all very simple.
Either we give ourselves to Silence or we don’t.

– Adyashanti

*

This is not magic.  It’s not mysterious.  Sit down in a chair or on your couch and don’t make a decision when to get up, and just feel.  And all of sudden it will become obvious.  Your body will start to move with the feeling and you’ll just be getting up.  Try it sometime.  It’s interesting.

Spend a day like that; just feeling, not moving until you feel.  If your mind is asking you, “is this the right feeling?” you’ll never get it.  It’s like thirst.  When you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty.  That’s knowledge, that’s direct knowing.  What would you say to somebody if they said, “how do I know when I’m thirsty?”  Well, you’ll feel the flow of it.  But if a mind was involved, the mind might even feel thirsty and the mind would go, “how do I know that that’s thirst?  How do I know?”

But on the inside, in quietness, thirst and reaching for the cup would be just one movement.  Thirst and the cup: simple.

– Adyashanti

*

The power of the Divine works in the silence.
People want lectures; I give them silence.

Words you can get anywhere.

In silence one can receive more
because all one’s activities become concentrated at one point.
There is only one real rhythm; in silence you hear it.
When you live to the rhythm of this silence, you become it…

– Mother Meera

*

Life is this simple.  We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through all the time.

This is not just a fable or a nice story.  It is true.

If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently.

God shows Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events.

It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him.  It’s impossible.  The only thing is we don’t see it.

– Thomas Merton

*

Immobility and silence are not inactive.
The flower fills the space with perfume, the candle – with light.
They do nothing yet they change everything by their mere presence.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

*

Above all things, love silence. Out of your silence will arise something that will draw you into deeper silence. If you practice this, inexpressible light will dawn upon you.

– St Gregory of Nyssa

*

Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.
– Henri J M Nouwen

*

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

– T S Eliot

*


your original luminous brilliance

“… whose only beacon
is this unlit light”

 

Although it might seem to be the case if the three little words are taken literally and out of context, THIS UNLIT LIGHT does not refer to some kind of light – mystical or mundane – that needs to be lit, like a candle or a light bulb. In some scriptures there are references to mystical light that must be lit, but that’s not what is referred to here. Let’s be clear about this beloveds, so that we’re dancing on the same page.

The phrase “this unlit light”, as I use it, refers to a light whose brilliant origin cannot be found – a light that was already alight prior to the “big bang” moment, and every moment imagined, dreamed, or experienced in any way by anything possessing sentience. It’s described as “unlit” because it has never been ‘turned-on’ or ‘lit’ by any known technology, mental or otherwise.

This self-luminous light is sometimes called transparent, nondual present awareness; it is seamlessly intimate to every sentient being – so close it cannot be perceived, yet present as the awareing of every perception.

“this unlit light” points to the luminous clarity of awareness that knows, and in which knowing all existence and experience are birthed and named, even as it remains unmoved. Actually, to say that it “knows” is a step too far. (Even to say it “alights” is untrue, for it does n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  Words about the ineffable are automatically a contradiction in terms.)

Diamond Clarity

If readers of this little blog have scrolled down to the bottom of the page they will have come upon these words from J Krishnamurti – they have been there since its launch 3 years ago  –

A mind that is awake, intelligent, free, why should it need,
why should it have, any “experience” at all?
Light is light; it does not ask for more Light.

Light is light. Nothing is required for this light to be alight; both darkness and brilliance are as its shadow.

“this unlit light” – like Bankei’s “Unborn mind” – is right now awareing these strings of words displayed on this brightly lit screen. Simply awareing. Not judging, reacting or even understanding; not labeling or seeking meaning. Those functions are the province of thought and memory – and the miraculous movement of creative story-smithing. Stories are without number, and if one of them includes the need for the Great Light to be lit, no problem – enjoy the dance!

It might sound outrageous and irreverent, but “this unlit light” couldn’t give a toss about nonduality or any other philosophy. It couldn’t care less whether we’re spaced-out in the absolute, or beavering away heart-fully in the relative, or perfectly aligned in wisdom-compassion. It couldn’t care less whether we’re a hip Advaita teacher or a fierce dispeller of ignorance, a serenely blissful yogini or a story-sabotaged suffering seeker. It’s utterly unaffected.

Utterly unaffected.

It simply abides. Receiving everything; rejecting nothing.

That’s why it’s felt as unconditional Love; that’s why it’s called Beloved.

Your true nature is something never lost to you,
even in moments of delusion,
nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment.
It is the nature of your own mind,
the source of all things,
your original luminous brilliance.
You, the richest person in the world,
have been going around laboring and begging,
when all the while the treasure you seek is within you.
It is who you are.
~ Huang Po

[My emphasis]

 

SIMPLY REST IN THIS PURE DIAMOND-LIKE AWARENESS – TRANSPARENT, YET REFLECTING THE ENTIRE MIRAGE OF CREATION

 

Dedicated, with deep appreciation, to

jkjax | jac |

 

shining mind, radiant perfection

Dawn over Mt Maunganui, Aotearoa New Zealand

 

This pure mind … shines forever with the radiance of its own perfection.

But most people are not aware of it, and think that mind is just the faculty that sees, hears, feels, and knows.  Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling, and knowing, they don’t perceive the radiance of the source.  If they could eliminate all conceptual thinking, this source would appear, like the sun rising …

Huang-po

 


Image: Dawn over Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa New Zealand