This is how it is

sunday snippet

As my prayer become more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.

–Søren Kierkegaard, quoted by Joachim Berendt in “The Third Ear,” translated by Tim Nevill (Shaftsbury, England: Element Books, 1988).

Wisdom from our summer 1990 issue on attention |Parabola Magazine
Photo Credit: Randy P. Martin

My Name

camping 2013
One night when the lawn was a golden green
and the marbled moonlit trees rose like fresh memorials
in the scented air, and the whole countryside pulsed
with the chirr and murmur of insects, I lay in the grass
feeling the great distances open above me, and wondered
what I would become—and where I would find myself—
and though I barely existed, I felt for an instant
that the vast star-clustered sky was mine, and I heard
my name as if for the first time, heard it the way
one hears the wind or the rain, but faint and far off
as though it belonged not to me but to the silence
from which it had come and to which it would go.

Mark Strand, “My Name,” The New Yorker,  April 11, 2005

Grass, what are you telling me?

Van Gogh Grass

It was high noon, the sun was its peak, and the heat was scorching in an open arena in the middle of nowhere in Denver, Colorado.  There is a light breeze, not a single bird flying yet I could hear the chirping in the sound of silence.

Where is everybody?

Moving towards the hill, I could see a mirage of two people.  When I came closer to the top, there is a lake and the figure I saw where two men fishing silently.  I walked towards them, nodded my head to acknowledge their presence and walked away quietly to keep the sacredness and not to scare the fishes away.

Returning to the threshold that I walked through, I sat on the ground, leaned against the fence to shelter me from the heat.  The tall grass covers me and we settled down in the quiet of our being.

Gently I touch the blades of grass, caressing it and in return, the grass tickles me.  We are both pleased with each other’s company.  Giving and receiving the sheer pleasure of doing nothing.

What a wonderful afternoon, feeling what is that I cannot name and then suddenly, I started crying, uncontrollably.  It was so strange to feel the joy and grief at the same time.

Grass, what are you telling me?

When the emotional state I was in subsided, I said goodbye to the grass and thank it for having me.  Then I returned to my friend’s place that I was visiting.  Tomorrow, I am going home to Canada.

The following day before departing I quickly run to the fence, cross the threshold to say hello and goodbye to the grass. Shocked, I was so devastated what I saw.  The grass was cut down.  Gone.

Grass, is this what you were telling me yesterday?

Painting: Van Gogh

Silence and/or Less – Neuroscience of Peace

Silence Question: What one thought will you focus on this year to bring more peace?

Silence and less are good thoughts.

Think about this.

“How would spirituality help a man of the world like me?” said the businessman.
“It will help you have more,” said the Master.
“How?” “By teaching you to desire less.” — Anthony de Mello, SJ

MORSEL: After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box. –Italian Proverb

January Peace Challenge: Neuroscience of Peace

Dark Silence – It was grand

No power,
No radio,
No phone,
No television,
No internet,
No computer,
Candle flickering,
Sitting in the dark.
All is quiet.
It was grand! 
z grand
 “Why are you so wary of thought?” said the philosopher. “Thought is the one tool we have for organizing the world.” 
“True. But thought can organize the world so well that you are no longer able to see it.” 
To his disciples he later said, “A thought is a screen, not a mirror; that is why you live in a thought envelope, untouched by Reality.” ~~ Anthony de Mello, S.J. 
 MORSEL: We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light? ~~ Plato
 

A writer and a poet

Two people that are faithful to each other’s writing.  And they are both worthy of one another.  I find them beautiful.

z writing

A writer:

…  and silent; and silence is not always a bad thing.  And silence is not always a good thing.  I’m late, and I’m silent, and my brilliant and beautiful wife has stumbled into slumber, which is a rational thing to do.  There was some kind of get-to-gether last night all over the continent, and their focus was to turn their clocks back one hour.  I was convinced to jump in on the madness, and that might be why I’m really tired and it is only 11:02 pm.  Seems later.  Apparently we were all supposed to “fall back” …

My (currently silent) partner, just broke her silence from her slumber and told me respectfully, “Its time to stop your computing, Dear.  Its time to go to bed.  So, I guess I will end with … Find your voice; rejoice; pray and listen.  This week grab wisdom, and don’t be stupid.  Peace, you guys,

A Poet

Silence is neither always good nor bad,
but it is what clings to you late into the night.
My settled wife has stumbled into settled slumber,
a rational thing to do I’d agree, but still,
here I am, bone weary, too drained to get up and join her.

The continent this night got together to turn their clocks
upside down and backside front, and—convinced as I was
to connive in on the madness—I think that explains me
somehow: I was supposed to fall back and apparently I did,
because whatever time it is, it’s too late for me now.
“Dear, come to bed.”

Find your voice. Rejoice. Pray and listen.
This week grab wisdom and don’t be stupid.
I went to bed.

 
 Links to read more about them.
The writer:  Find your voice, find your voice and listen 
The poet:  Just what time is it anyway
With special thanks to The Mirror Obscura  for pointing Book of Pain.
 
Photo credit: Helium.com