the cathedral of emptiness


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

another one bites the dust

It’s taken some getting used to – for a silver-haired ex educator for whom utterances of the public variety used to be carefully crafted and justifiable – not to mention purposeful – but I can now happily admit that I haven’t a clue why words get posted when they do, or why they wish to be expressed.  I have learned to live with helpless hopeless unknowingness and what’s more, to trust it totally.  So when I wrote about compassion and big sticks I was curious to know what that was all about.

Compassion.  The concept can be, like love, a loaded gun smoking with fluffy, sentimental do-good notions.  That’s why Buddhists spend a great deal of time clarifying its ruthless qualities.  I’m not a Buddhist (or anything else) but I do appreciate that the most compassionate action is probably that which helps to unstitch non-negotiable stories that are unhelpful and cause suffering for sentient beings.  This was the context in which HH the Dalai Lama spoke of the big stick at Krishnamurti’s memorial service, for K could be very uncompromising when it came to outing our largely unconscious and heavily guarded conditioning.

I confess to a kind of exhilaration these days when Life shines its Light straight into a dusty corner of the archive and reveals a well-wrapped story that hasn’t been opened up for scrutiny.  The stick needs to be at-hand, for I know that unpicking the threads will be no facile matter – one is, after all, unpicking the fabric of the wee-me.  I also know it will be the most compassionate thing that I can do for myself – and most importantly, I know that I’m not doing a darned thing.  Life ITself is meeting and welcoming ITs own creations in mind, and airing out the cupboard, so to speak.

I wonder if you have ever had the experience of enduring a long-standing health problem, perhaps involving much discomfort and pain, and in spite of it all, resisting a form of treatment because of a negative story being held in the mind – and usually affirmed by one’s N&D?  Have you stubbornly stuck to notions that you ought to be able to heal yourself ‘naturally’ (as if anything in Creation could ultimately be un-natural), that if you just buy more remedies, change your diet and lifestyle you’ll get the better of it?  I wonder if you’ve lived with the subtle guilt that comes from long-term ill health and the feeling that your friends wish you’d get over it?  I wonder if you’ve had a story running that if you could just change your story the problem would vanish?  Any, maybe all, of these approaches can provide effective relief with time.  But the big stick of compassion doesn’t tolerate time.

Compassion wants to act in the instant, when your symptoms are so unbearable that you don’t even want to know about tomorrow.  Compassion is ultimate loving kindness towards beloved Life in this moment without regard for consequence.  Compassion is Life saving ITself in the only moment it knows.  The Present.

The big stick stirred up a story here this last week.  Poked its eyes out.  Returned it to Emptiness.

The details are irrelevant; the dynamics are universal.  Person ails but resists the remedy.  Person has story running about the nasty remedy.  Person’s condition worsens.  Person won’t take the medicine.  Person’s condition becomes critical, unbearable.  Person is on knees begging for help.  Compassion hands out the medicine.  Person grabs it, takes it.  Lives.  Heals.  Person is grateful beyond expression.  Compassion smiles that smile, the one where you know you are Loved beyond measure.  Person suddenly notices the label on the little pill:  Beloved.

– miriam louisa

‘I’ – liberated from the ‘am’

wee-me thinks
it has a story
but – it is a story!

‘I’ is the One
that knows this


I, Consciousness
I, Knowingness
I, Awareness
I, Unlit Light
I, Beingness
I, Lover


liberated from the ‘am’


~ miriam louisa

you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

a solid separate ‘me’ cannot be found
yet this boundless expression of the unknown still wears my name
and this unlit light illumines a world
unique to the experience of this mindstream called mine

the me I took myself to be
vaporized in an instant yet nothing happened to ‘I’
‘I’ shines as it always has – perhaps more
clearly now that the drapes have been drawn back

it’s a mistake to think
that the vast View of world-as-self means that
some super-human person is viewing it thus –
unobstructed Awareness is simply viewing Itself

it’s a mistake to think
at all, actually,
if the View is one’s objective:
thinking will ensure It stays enshrined as an object

and we all know that an object is just a story
either you get the story
or you get the View –
you can’t have your cake and eat it too!


– miriam louisa


don’t look for me in my story


I have (re) turned to face the faceless
and find myself


I can write letters from home
but cannot again


Don’t look for me in my story
I am not there


is my unspeakable name
and all stories


in this that I is


~ miriam louisa

echoes from emptiness


what is it that follows me wherever I go?

There are so many lives packed into one.  The one life we think we know is only the window that is open on the screen.  The big window full of detail, where the meaning is often lost among the facts.  If we can close that window, on purpose or by chance, what we find behind is another view.

The window is emptier.  The cross-references are cryptic.  As we scroll down it, looking for something familiar, we seem to be scrolling into another self – one we recognize but cannot place.  The co-ordinates are missing, or the co-ordinates pinpoint us outside the limits of our existence.

If we move further back, through a smaller window that is really a gateway, there is less and less to measure ourselves by.  We are coming into a dark region.  A single word might appear.  An icon.  This icon is a private Madonna, a guide, an understanding.  Very often we remember it from dreams.  “Yes,” we say.  “Yes this is a world.  I have been here.”  It comes back to us like a scent from childhood. …

We are our own oral history.  A living memoir in time.

Time is downloaded into our bodies.  We contain it.  Not only time past and time future, but time without end.  We think of ourselves as close and finite, when we are multiple and infinite.

This life, the one we know, stands in the sun.  It is our daytime and the stars and planets that surround it cannot be seen.  The sense of other lives, still our own, is clearer to us in the darkness of night or in our dreams.  Sometimes a total eclipse shows us in the day what we cannot usually see for ourselves.  As our sun darkens, other brilliancies appear.  And there is the strange illusion of looking over our shoulder and seeing the sun racing towards us at two thousand miles an hour.

What is it that follows me wherever I go?

~ Jeanette Winterson, The Power Book