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.

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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

*


coming out : ‘fessing up

sitting, this early autumn dawn…
already the tropical heat steams:
low clouds are resting on the mango tops
and on my head, thick after an airless night

sitting, greeting, bowing to
each whining thought’s futility
in the presence of this
impartial
immensity

this me-matrix,
this emelle-character,
has been tossed too far
off the mainstream GPS
by whatever brought her here
to expect acceptance
by the old herd

sometimes, though, there’s a glance
back, over the shoulder
and a sigh sighs – it wants
the best of both worlds:
understanding and encouragement from the old
friends, the frayed remnant of family
as well as this wild unchoreographed dance
with the unknown

but it’s a no-brainer and anyway
back-tracking isn’t an option

a great sentient silence wraps itself
around this spaciousness
and there’s just this
total fulfillment
smiling, smiling

emelle loves this fail-safe Lover
with her life

 

there:

it’s outed

 


emelle = ml = miriam louisa


unimaginable: unfurling unlit light

177

In the deep darkness of night – no slumber in sight – bum sits on cushion, eyelids draw down of their own accord, breath flows in breath flows out.  Beat of heart, song of great silence.

Out of infinite velvet blackness points of energy emerge.

They spiral into appearance, and as they do so they take on mandala-like forms.  Some are glorious flowers.  Others are crystalline and geometric.  Others are snowflake-like, a blend of organic curvaceous-ness and geometric patterning.  Still others are spirals, simple vortexes, or radiating arms like the spira mirabilis.  There is no color, only milk-white light playing in the black vastness.

The energy forms appear to move towards the witnessing Awareness, spiraling and expanding, and then they move right through and into IT –

an endlessly unfurling pulsation
emerging, spiraling, flowering, and flowing,
penetrating and dissolving into
the unknowable Knowingness
that is ceaselessly watching.

~ echoes from emptiness

the transcendent silence of ‘I’

There is a silence which transcends sound and silence. If I am not speaking, then some might say I’m keeping silent. If I am thinking, then some would say my mind is not silent.

Whether the voice is speaking, or the mind is thinking there is a silence which transcends both speech and thought and which is ever present to both of them.

It is the silence in which sound and silence take place. It is the silence in which speech and thought take place.

This silence is one’s true nature, and it is ever present, no matter what is going on.

This silence doesn’t walk or talk or think or make any noise at all.

It is That in which everything takes place. The recognition of That silence is called ‘self-knowledge.’

How is this silence described in relationship to spoken words and thoughts?

From the Upanisads:

“That [brahman] from which words return, not having reached, together with the mind.” (Taittiriya 2. 9. 1)

This statement might seem quite obscure unless explained.

The mind cannot ‘go’ there, as silence, (one’s true nature) is not an object to be cognized in the way that objects in duality are cognized.

The silence cannot be heard, touched, seen, tasted, or smelled. Thus it is not available for sense perception.

Nor is the silence an object of thought in the mind, like happiness, sadness, or any other thought at all.

We have no word which is adequate to describe this silence as all words initially point to something in duality.

Yet words handled appropriately lead one to recognize one’s very own self as this silence.

Not an object of cognition, yet known as my very svarupa, my very own nature.

Unavailable for hearing, touch, sight, taste, or smell,
yet known by the mind as ‘I,’ ‘I,’ ‘I,’ the silent changeless being
of all changing things, that ever present one, that one am I.

~ Dhanya

Read more of Dhanya’s writing on her blog at the Advaita Academy

~

Related posts on this blog:

the cathedral of emptiness

why you don’t really want to awaken

silence is the essence of us all

don’t look for me in my story

come sit with me

silence has found me

~

the cathedral of emptiness

Sometimes

saying ‘yes’ to your heart’s longing for silence

requires an unapologetic ‘no’ to the world

with its ceaseless need to script your story.

 

The world will dissect your motives, analyze your actions, categorize your traumas;

it will never accept your silence.

Silence is the word-wielding world’s worst enemy; you may well be spurned,

even by those who claim affection for you.

 

But your heart, quivering with quiet,

will deliver you into the cathedral of emptiness –

where the “roar on the other side of silence”

– the holy nameless name –

sounds existence into shape and form.

– miriam louisa

the beauty of your absence

The following wideawake wisdom-shots are from an interview with Jean Klein conducted by Stephan Bodian.  I found this interaction, quite simply, amazing. It covers all the ground from the initial apperception of the impossibility of a separate ‘me’-self, to the exaltation of ultimate liberation. Please follow the link below the quotes to read the entire transcript. Gratitude to the Nonduality Highlights for sharing this treasure.

Liberation means to live freely in the beauty of your absence.  You see at one moment that there’s nothing seen and no seer.  Then you live it.

For me, the point of meditation is only to look for the meditator.  When we find out that the meditator, the one who looks for God, for beauty, for peace, is only a product of the brain and that there is nothing to find, there is a giving up.  What remains is a current of silence.  You can never come to this silence through practice, through achievement.

First you must see how you function.  And you’ll see that you function as somebody, as a person.  You live constantly in choice.  You live completely in the psychological structure of like and dislike, which brings you sorrow.

If you identify yourself with your personality, it means you identify yourself as your memory because personality is memory, what I call psychological memory.  In this seeing, this natural giving up, the personality goes away.  And when you live in this nothingness, something completely different emerges.  Instead of seeing life in terms of the projections of your personality, things appear in your life as they are, as facts.  And these appearings naturally bring their own solution.  You are no longer identified with your personality, with psychological memory, though your functional memory remains. Instead, there is a cosmic personality, a trans–personality, that appears and disappears when you need it.  You are nothing more than a channel, responding according to the situation.

Enlightenment – being understanding – is instantaneous.

Once you attain this enlightenment or this current do you then exist in it all the time?

Constantly.  But it’s not a state.  When there’s a state, there is mind.

Even when you give up the last object, we still remain in the duality of subject and object. You’re still in a kind of blank state, and this blank state itself becomes an extremely subtle object.  In this state, it is very difficult to give up the subject – object relationship.  Once you’ve attained it, you’re locked into it, fixed to it.  There’s a kind of quietness, but there’s no flavor, no taste.  To bring it to the point where the object vanishes and you abide in the beingness, a tremendous teacher or exceptional circumstances are necessary.

~ Jean Klein, interviewed by Stephan Bodian

Source: Undivided Journal

be secluded and silent

Another year approaches its use-by date and I am moved to thank each one of you for your interest in this little blog over the past year. Your company on the Way is cherished.

May your holiday season be joyful and safe.
May the New Year bring untold gracious blessings.
May you be always anchored in the unborn, undying Light.
May Love be your only guide, and may you know deep abiding contentment.

I see the candle, the face, the eye,
an altar where the soul bows,
a gladness and refuge.

My loving says, “Here – I can leave
my personality here,”
My reason agrees! “How can I object
when a rose makes the bent backs
stand up like cypresses?”
Such surrender changes everything.

Be secluded and silent. Stay in
the delight, and be brought the cup
that will come. No artfulness.
Practice quiet and this new joy.

~ Rumi

Image –  miriam louisa simons, Rose:  painting on Duppion silk, 100cm x 100cm