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

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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

*


sinking back into just this

just this……in all its simplicity……
welcoming what is here already……
not coming……not going……
obscured even by seeking……

So we meet in the paradox of apparent teachings, retreats, trainings or gatherings, to celebrate and explore this nameless presence that we are. At first, there is the tendency to accentuate the myriad of practices the yoga tradition has developed, to focus on concepts like nondual, true nature, awareness, self-inquiry or other-inquiry.

But all this activity eventually leads us to a giving up. And in this surrender what is revealed is seen to be what has always been here, before the search began, during its full intensity and after its cessation. The task turns out to be ceding to stillness, and in that stillness the recognition of just this.

Falling back and resting in what is so familiar that it has been overlooked during all the body sensing yoga, during all the pranayama, all the yoga nidra and amidst all the dialogues, amidst life itself, we find our self simply sinking back into just this.

~ Joan Ruvinsky

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Gratitude to Kathleen Knipp for introducing me to Joan Ruvisky’s work and recommending her for our wideawake women page. “Her teachings, offered in both prose and poetry, as well as verbally, are yet another beautiful expression of the inexpressible through a woman’s voice.”
~ ml

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and here you are, shining: so dopily simple!

If we meet this world unprotected, our heart gets broken over and over and over.

This is actually a gift.

You let the world touch you, it shatters you open, and it shatters you open, and it shatters you open.

And here you are, shining.

After our heart is broken open a thousand times and all of the contents emptied out, there’s just this shining left.

and btw

This is so dopily simple … SO dopily simple.

What are all the long books about?  All the fancy words and all of us getting ourselves tied up in knots.

It’s just simple.  Let’s just be here.  And when we’re here, let’s just invite our whole beings here, every bit.

And then when every bit is here, let’s invite everybody else here.

That’s it … end of story.  We’re already present.

What’s the big whoop?  Where do we think we’re going?

~ Jeannie Zandi

~  a   m   e   n  ~

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let’s not make this difficult!

We are vast, eternal Awareness Itself.
Since we ARE it, it easily follows
that we can Know It.
How? Just NOTICE! Are you Aware?
Let’s not make this difficult,
when it is so SIMPLE!

~ Mary-Margaret Moore

Mary-Margaret Moore’s website

Many thanks to Lynn Van Gundy for recommending Mary-Margaret Moore for the wideawake women list.

silence has found me

silence has found me

its ruthless simplicity
has culled the clutter
from closets
I never knew existed
in the corridors of my brain

its unstoppable tide
has drowned the demon
that danced through my days,
demanding:
control, adjust, fix!

its throbbing roar
has muted the mutterings
of protest,
the pleas for reprieve,
from the screaming ‘me-me!’ myth

its yawning vastness
has swallowed whole
the impostor who once laid claim
to this luminous lifestream:
t i m e

its perfect love
has melted all that I took
to be me
in its crucible of fiery
Grace

and the receptors in these cells
heard the words
the whole world hungers
to hear:

you are loved!

how could it be otherwise
when separation from your essence
is impossible?

be silence
and Know