Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Listen now, or lose your life, for what I have to say is what you have imagined in quiet moments but have failed to realize in full. Perhaps you were too timid or astonished at the critical moments, or couldn’t find the courage to step through the veil of your frail life when the door was opened for you.
Or perhaps you wanted to keep your life as your own, and chose to hold onto a few pennies when you could have had gold. No matter, for yesterday has passed into the dust of remembered dreams, and tomorrow’s story is yet to be written.
Which is precisely why you and I are now here together. You and I. You and I. Oh, the sheer mystery of it—how could anything be more grand? Stand with me here at the precipice and take my hand in yours, for I am good company to those ready to depart familiar ground. If not, then let loose of my hand now and take that of a more familiar companion. For where we stand is known, but our next step will not be—nor the one after or the one after that.
So shoulder all of your longing and intent and leave all else behind. I give you fair warning: The world you are about to leave will not be there when you return. For nothing truly left behind is ever the same upon our return. Let us not waste any more time on discussions or debates; you have surely been caught in those tide pools too long already. Too much talk is wearying to the soul and evades the spirit of things. Longing is the true measure of a man or woman and alone has the power to draw us out of ourselves and into the vast air of eternity. But we shall not rely only on the winds of longing, for they can be fickle and unpredictable. We shall also need the fire of intent—that fine-tipped arrow of courage flying true and straight to its goal, piercing through the fabric of our dreams as it goes.
This is as fair a day as any to begin the journey back to your origin. So lift your foot together with mine and we will step off the well-trodden paths and into the uncharted woods where the essence of things lies waiting for you to open your eyes.
This is the first half of his poem. It blew my heart wide open.
Please see his Teachings on his website if you’d like to read more. There is a link… under “LINKS.”
Saturday, January 27, 2007
The Crane Wife has also inspired me. I have shortened the Decemberists’ lyrics to the version I give here. I played the song repeatedly as I made this painting- from the scan of a Korean coin out of my cookie jar and some sheet metal I found in the middle of the highway we take to go sailing…in the summer.
It was a cold night
And the snow lay 'round
I pulled my coat tight
Against it falling down
And the sun was all...
the sun was all down.
I am a poor man
I haven't wealth nor fame
I have my two hands
and a house to my name
And the winter's so...
the winter's so long.
And all the stars were crashing 'round
As I laid eyes on what I'd found.
It was a white crane
It was a helpless thing
Upon a red stain
With an arrow in its wing
and it called and cried...
it called and cried so.
And now I helped her
now I dressed her wounds
And I held her
Beneath the rising moon
As she stood to fly...
she stood to fly away
My crane wife.
While there are many variations of the old Japanese tale, a common version is that a poor man finds an injured crane on his doorstep, takes it in and nurses it back to health. After releasing the bird, a woman appears at his doorstep with whom he falls in love and marries. Because they need money, his wife offers to weave wondrous clothes out of silk that they can sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her making them. They begin to sell them and live a comfortable life, but he soon makes her weave them more and more. Oblivious to his wife's diminishing health, his greed increases. He eventually peeks in to see what she is doing to make the silk she weaves so desirable. He is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane plucking feathers from her own body and weaving them into the loom. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns.
(Thanks to Wikipedia for this Info.)
Abrupt and Sudden
Then I noticed that I’d attached a little stickum tag to the edge of one page. “What is this?”
Opening the book, I smiled. I had forgotten Chuan-tzu’s story of Abrupt and Sudden.
It bears repeating, sharing, living non-forgotten:
The lord of the south sea was Abrupt; the lord of the north sea was Sudden. From time to time Abrupt and Sudden got together in the territory of Primal Unity, and Primal Unity treated them very well.
Abrupt and Sudden planned to repay Primal Unity’s kindness.
They said, “People all have seven openings, through which they see, hear, eat, and breathe; Primal Unity alone has none. Let us make openings in Primal Unity.”
So every day they gouged out a hole. After seven days, Primal Unity died.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
At 7 a.m. I thought, "A year ago today I was screaming in the phone..."
A lot can happen in a year. So much so things can become almost unrecognizable. Still, there is continuity.
A couple days ago, Becky sent me this. It was the story of the day from "Story People." And this is what it said:
Bones of Light
I remember we sat in the swing on the front porch & as the dusk came on us like a song, dark throated & sweet, he told me about the beginning when we had bones of light & hair that burned like the sun & I asked what happened then? & I felt him floating there in the soft dark & finally he said we forgot & I said I never would, but sometimes I do & I understand now why he put his arm around me & said nothing more.
I am not sure I understand this story, not the words. But I do understand something of it. Something deep down inside beyond words and all the thinking.
Friday, January 19, 2007
“Thay” as his students call him, is over eighty now. I did not know that.
I did not know that Martin Luther King had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I did not know what Thich Nhat Hanh really teaches.
I did know that I love to listen to his voice. So soft, so gentle, so very much at peace, and so very filled with kindness.
So, I went online to find some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. They do exist there.
But what I’d like to share is this simple story that I found.
Through it, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to simply hear his voice.
No heady lesson here. This is a chance for the learning that goes straight to the heart bypassing intellect, as Thich Nhat Hanh is “being peace.”
The Beginning of a Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village, France.
Today is the 28th of July 1998, and we are in the Upper Hamlet. We are going to speak English today.
When I was a small boy, at the age of seven or eight, I happened to see a drawing of the Buddha on the cover of a Buddhist magazine. The Buddha was sitting on the grass, very peacefully, very beautifully, and I was very impressed. The artist must have had a lot of peace within himself, so that when he drew the Buddha, the Buddha was so peaceful. Looking at the drawing of the Buddha made me happy, because around me people were not very calm, or very happy. When I saw the drawing of the Buddha I was very impressed, and I suddenly had the idea that I wanted to become someone like him, someone who could sit very still and peacefully. I think that was the moment that I first wanted to become a monk, but I did not know that. I wanted to be like the Buddha.
You know that the Buddha is not a god, the Buddha was just a human being like all of us, and he suffered very much as a teenager. He saw the suffering in his kingdom, he saw how his father King Suddhodana was trying hard to make the suffering less, but he seemed to be helpless. So the political way did not seem to him to be a very effective one. As a teenager the young Siddhartha was trying to find a way out of the situation of suffering. He was always searching and searching for the way. I think that today many young people also do as the young Siddhartha did: you look around yourselves, you don’t see anything really beautiful, really good, and really true, so you are confused. You are searching, looking very hard to see whether there is something really beautiful, really good or really true to embrace and follow.
I was very young, and yet I did have that kind of feeling in me. That is why, when I saw the drawing of the Buddha, I was so happy. I just wanted to be like him. And I was told that if you practice well, you can be like a Buddha. The Buddha is not a god; the Buddha is just a human being like us. Anyone that is peaceful, loving and understanding can be called a Buddha. There were many Buddhas in the past, there are Buddhas in the present moment, and there will be many Buddhas in the future. Buddha is not the name of someone; Buddha is just a common name, to designate someone who has a high degree of peace, who has a high degree of understanding and compassion.
When I was about eleven, I went for a picnic on the mountain of Na Son, together with several hundred boys and girls from my school. I was very excited about that picnic, because I learned that we were going to climb the mountain Na Son, and on the top was a monk, who lived there as a hermit and practiced in order to become a Buddha. I had had picnics before, but this one was so special, because I knew that if I climbed to the top of the mountain I would see the hermit, see someone who was practicing in order to become like a Buddha. So that was my secret hope, to be able to meet with the hermit. A hermit is someone who practices alone, who does not want to be disturbed, and who wants to devote all of his time to the practice.
At that time I did not know anything about the practice of mindful breathing, or mindful walking; I did not know what walking meditation was. We organized in teams of five boys, and we brought with us a few bottles of boiled water, and rice balls. We squeezed cooked rice into the shape of bread, and it was so compact that you could cut the rice into slices, and you would eat your rice with sesame seeds, crushed roast peanuts, and a little bit of salt. I think that in Plum Village you’ll have to organize that kind of picnic some day--just a slice of rice, eaten with sesame seeds—it’s very delicious. Since I did not know how to practice walking meditation, we tried to climb as quickly as possible. We got very tired. We had hardly come halfway up the mountain before we were exhausted, and the worse thing was that we had drunk all our water. We got very thirsty. So we tried our best, and when we had climbed to the top, we were completely exhausted, and thirsty; and we were given the order to prepare our picnic.
I did not care a lot about eating. I wanted to go and look for the hermit. But it was very disappointing—someone told me that the hermit was not there. Imagine my disappointment! A hermit is someone who wants to be alone in his hut. Imagine…he learned that three or four hundred children were coming! So he must have gone somewhere and hidden himself. I believed that the hermit was still somewhere there in the woods, and that if I ventured into the woods I might have a chance to see him and talk to him. So I left my friends, my copains, there, and I went alone into the forest. The forest was large, and there was not much chance of meeting someone who wanted to hide himself in it.
A few minutes after I went into the forest, I began to hear the sound of dripping water. The sound was so clear, so nice--like the sound of a piano. It was so interesting that I tried to go in the direction of the sound. Very soon after that I discovered a very beautiful natural well, made of blocks of stone. The water was very high, and when I saw the water, so clear, so refreshing, I was so happy, because I was extremely thirsty. To see the water was something wonderful. So I came close to the well, I looked down, and I could see every detail at the bottom of the well. The water was so limpid. I used my hand to cup the water and I drank it. It was so delicious, I cannot describe to you how delicious it was. I had never drunk anything like that. Believe me, it was much better than Coca-Cola, even Coca-Cola with ice.
After having drunk the water from the well, I felt completely satisfied. At that time I could not describe my feeling, but now I think I can describe my feeling: it was the feeling of being completely satisfied, when you don’t have any more desire, even the desire to meet the hermit. Very strange—why? Because in that moment, as a small boy, I believed that the hermit had transformed himself into a well so that I could meet him privately, in a kind of private audience with the hermit. You know, I had been reading a lot of fairy tales, so I really believed that the hermit had transformed himself into a well so that I could meet him personally. So I felt very privileged; I felt that I was the only one who could have that wonderful opportunity of meeting the hermit. Then I sat very close to the stones, and I lay down and looked at the sky. The sky was very blue. I remember also seeing a few leaves of a branch that was close by, hanging across the sky. Just a minute later, I fell into a very deep sleep.
I don’t know how long I slept, but the sleep must have been very deep, because when I woke up I did not know where I was. I had to look around to realize that I was on the top of the Na Son Mountain The space was so special, the circumstances so special: I alone was allowed into that space to have that wonderful encounter with the hermit in the form of a well. I did not want to leave the well. I wanted to stay up there, but I remembered that my friends must have been waiting for me. I had just suddenly disappeared, and that could have made them very worried. So I had to leave the natural well with a lot of regret. On my way down, suddenly a sentence came to my head, not in Vietnamese, but in French: "I have tasted the most wonderful water in the world." That water may symbolize a kind of spiritual experience.
When I arrived, my friends asked me where I had been. I did not say anything—I did not tell them anything. I don’t know why. It seems that I wanted to keep the event as something sacred, I did not want to share. I had the impression that if I told them about that, I would lose something. That is why I was not talkative at all, that afternoon. You know, my first experience with a Buddha was seeing the drawing on the cover of a Buddhist magazine, of someone sitting on the grass, very peacefully. My second encounter with the Buddha was when I was on the top of the Mountain Na-Son, and drinking the water from that natural well. Later on, when I was twelve, I made the determination that I would ask permission of my mother and father to become a monk, and I kept that secret for many years. It was when I was about sixteen that I formally made a request, and it was very fortunate that my parents agreed.
I have met my hermit in the form of a well. You may have met your hermit also, but you might not have recognized it. Your hermit may have been in the form of a tree, a rock, or a person. I think the moment when we meet the hermit of our life we are transformed, we know where to go. That was my case--when I met my hermit, I knew where I had to go. That is why I asked my parents to allow me to become a monk. Becoming a monk is just one way; there are many other ways that are equally beautiful. So I wish that every one of you here would be able to meet your hermit very soon. And you must be very attentive in order not to miss him, because you might meet him, and yet not recognize him. The hermit can appear to you at any time. But if you are mindful, if you are attentive, when your hermit appears, you will be able to recognize him at once. It would be a joy for me if, someday when you meet the hermit, you will write me a letter, saying "Thay, today I have met my hermit, and I’m very happy, I know where to go now." Don’t forget to do that.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I’ve been having strange thoughts. So, what else is new? Well, these are stranger than most the odd things rolling round inside my head. These thoughts, coming unbidden have made me sit up and pay attention.
The first strange one occurred a few months ago. I was soaking in the tub and staring at the bathroom tiles. They are this retro light lime green. They are quite a contrast to the floor with its 5” X 5” black and white squares. This is not a bathroom interior I’d have ever chosen. I bought this house for the kitchen area. But, the bathroom tiles have grown on me. They’re actually kind of soothing and I've fallen into the habit of lying in the tub and staring at the tile and the play of light on white porcelain accessories. I find this practice soothing, yet the scene feels unfamiliar. It doesn’t feel like it belongs to me. So while I lay there soaking, relaxed, yet puzzled by the lack of familiarity I had the thought, “Who are you?”
I didn’t see the answer coming and it shocked me by its radical strangeness: “I am a habit waiting to be dropped.”
Having heard myself think that, I shifted in the tub.
What did I meant by that? I'm a habit?
I had realized in that moment that I maintained my entire existence simply due to habit, and somewhere deep inside I was getting ready to just let that go of doing that.
The insight worried me. It hinted at more change than I felt comfortable admitting. If I were to drop the maintenance it felt like everything would dissappear. Ooooh, dear!
But, as I say, that was months ago and as far as I can tell, I haven’t dropped a thing- aside from the usual tubes and caps and other small things you really want to hold onto.
Then a couple days ago at work I was wandering through the building connected to our own. I was trying to track down some guy whom I had never met and who’s name I couldn’t pronounce. I was being forwarded from person to person, lab to lab, in something of a wild goose chase. Finally I’d found him, concluded my business, and started back through the labyrinth of hallways and labs, when I came upon another woman. Even from a distance I could see that she was lost and going to ask for help. She was obviously lost, and just as obviously I knew I wouldn’t have her answer. But, here we go. Let's play it out. I was already grinning at her when she met my eye.
“Where’s the ladies room?” she asked.
I had no idea. Except I did know of one way the heck down this hall and over the bridge and… I was still explaining when she interrupted.
“Oh, here it is.”
“Or, you could use this one.” I was still smiling inside as I walked on, now examining how the room numbers were on these plates that stuck out into the corridor. I was just walking along really noticing how they’d built the building, when I had the next strange thought.
It wasn’t really a “thought.” It was more a tactile experience and vision, a direct perception of my internal state. “Something” not quite immaterial came up from my belly buzzed around my brain and then exited from my forehead. Outside of me this flow of “something” became the very building I was examining.
I thought, “This is all my own creation.”
And by “This” I meant not only the building but also my body and the whole Big Bang Shebang. I also felt how very tenuous this act of creating all Creation was. I could feel the effort incurred in the “bringing forth.” While not really that big a push, it still required energy. And have I ever mentioned how basically lazy that I am? I can't see doing this forever.
But then my next thought was, “Ohhh! That’s how God did it in the beginning.”
And then I thought, “Uh oh!”
The implications in the whole gestalt were too big headed. I didn’t feel like going there.
I took another tack. “Of course! That's what you think you see, because that’s what your brain does. It creates what you experience.” I am just me, aware of the tweeking that it takes to have your senses function. And I got to wondering if "enlightened vision" consists (in part?) of being able to see deeply into what your nervous system does.
Accidental Angel and Fish Spirit Search For Survivors Dispense Blessings
Originally uploaded by B I R D.
(Less you think all my strange thoughts involve a bathroom.)
We now get to the last strange thought to date.
Last night I was lying in bed, in the process of going to sleep. As usual, I'm lying there and talking to myself. I've no recollection about what. But, I happened to ask myself, “Are you happy?”
My first response was "yes." However, that didn’t seem quite accurate. But, upon reflection neither did a simple, “No.”
Again, I didn’t see the answer coming.
It rose up out of my gut presenting my conclusion to the sincere inquiry, "Am I... what, what?" The answer wasn’t even a thought at first. But taking words on to describe itself, I heard perhaps the strangest thought of all, “I don’t exist.”
I jumped back to, "Well, I'm pretty happy. Mostly happy. Happier than a while ago. ... I don't exist?"
Of course I do exist.
But, those words coming up force a moment’s self reflection.
I don’t seem so attached to the “me and mind” of life that now surrounds me.
Last year so much of my external world was stripped from me. I lost my little dog of 15 years. I lost my partner of 20 years. I lost the house in which we'd lived for almost as long. I lost the "we" and became much more an "I."
I’ve tried hard to replace things. The new retro-bathroom replaced the Arts and Crafts. Somethimes when Bennie puts his muzzle up against my face and his soft breath warms my cheeks< I get confused and think it's Annie. But he’s not her. And I try to keep that straight and love him for his own sweet being. Becky and I still talk almost every day and get along just fine. But she’s no longer there when I settle down to sleep. She’s not there in the morning. She’s not there to share all the little comments on the daily do.
So much is no longer there.
The world I lived in a year ago no longer exists. Memories grow distant almost exponentially. And in its place are those light mint tiles.
Silent, cool and still too new to really register as “mine.”
A while back, Becky asked me if I could find any blessing in our having parted. Well, I could make a short list if pressed. But intellectual understanding aside, in all honesty it hasn’t felt that great. I’d not have chosen this. My new life was forced upon me by Becky, and through her by the Universe. And you have to go with what you get.
But then, all these strange thoughts started; strange thoughts that are actually goods signs of going deeper, good signs of waking up.
I think that removing so much of the structure from my life has removed much of what I have falsely identified as “me.”
I've had a cleansing of the windows of perception allowing my true self to shine through more unavoidably.
It can be the Strangest Blessing.
I think of the people in New Orleans. I think of my friend, Mary. Huge, gruel loss may be a universal. I believe the term Adyashanti applied to this quality of the Universe is “ruthlessly caring.” I’ve been talking with Mary about it being “radical.” I think that word encapsule enough challenges for me.
Such a blessing. Radical and strange. Lose just enough to strip your soul naked, but not enough to make you just give up… Not that Mary and the folks from New Orleans have been defeated. It’s just that some folks seem to have to stagger on through desolation longer.
I was lucky. I was blessed.
I got the Momma Bear chair of grief, “Just right.”
Inexplicably it comes. When you least expect it. For a reason you can never know. One moment you are striving, figuring, imagining, and then, in the blink of an eye, it all disappears. The struggle disappears. The striving disappears. The person disappears. The world disappears. … Only awareness remains. Nothing else. …
Then everything- all the struggle, all the striving, all the thinking, all the figuring, all the surrendering, all the letting go, all the grabbing hold of, all the praying, all the begging, all the cursing too- was just a distraction. And only then is it seen that the person was, is, and ever will be no more than a thought. With a single thought, the person seems to reemerge. With more thoughts, the world seems to reemerge right out of nothing. But now you know.
The incarnation is nothing more than a thought. A thousand incarnations are but a thousand thoughts. And this amazing miracle of a mirage we call the world reappears as it was before, but now you know. That’s why you usually have a good laugh, because you realize that all your struggles were made up. You conjured them out of nothing…
And so at times we talk, and I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretend to take my own seriously… We are making up whether we need to hold on or surrender or figure it out or pray to God or be purified or have karma cleansed- it’s all a thought… There is only what you create and believe to be so. And if you like it that way, have at it!
But we cannot continue this absolute farce indefinitely…It’s impossible. Everything comes back to nothing.
And then it’s a bit harder to hold a straight face consistently for the rest of your life.
Adyashanti, Pacific Grove, CA. 2006
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Or, as I originally started this …What is going on here?
Having had insomnia for months now, I have gotten in the habit of listening to the radio in the middle of the night. Tuned into NPR, the classical station has introduced me to some beautiful music. Recently, it was “Walking in the Air.” Unable to remember all the orchestral and boy soprano info, I tried first to track the CD down at Borders during Christmas shopping. I failed. Christmas in Vienna with Sarah Brightman and Placido Domingo was sold out. So was the new age piano version by George Winston. And after that the listings got strange. Older- 1980’s or Western- Kenny Rogers.
So today I tried again, this time with Amazon.com. Nothing was quite right. Most CDs were too Christmasy or instrumental. I wanted that cutting boy soprana I had heard in the middle of the night. To my surprise it was a celtic woman’s CD that proved to be the exact version that I wanted. When I heard Chloe Agnew’s “Walking in the Air” I burst into tears. She had simply sliced my heart open.
Still, I hesitated. The CD over all was pretty slow. I figured it would ultimately just depress me.
I kept searching. I found the Wikipedia entry which gives background and a rather complete anthology: "Walking in the Air" is a song written for the animated short, The Snowman, which was broadcast on TV in 1983, published on videotape, DVD, released as a single and LP. In the second part of The Snowman story, the boy and the snowman fly to the North Pole. "Walking in the Air" is the theme for the journey. It also gave the words. The only words in the entire soundtrack:
We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly
I’m holding very tight
I’m riding in the midnight blue
I’m finding I can fly so high above with you
Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills
The forests and the streams
Children gaze open mouth
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes their eyes
We’re surfing in the air
We’re swimming in the frozen sky
We’re drifting over icy
Mountain floating by
Suddenly swooping low on an ocean deep
Arousing of a mighty monster from its sleep
We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly
Well, you have to hear the music for the full effect.
And I continued to google on until I came somehow to YouTube.
What was this? There’s a video clip of a rock concert. Longhairs, tee-shirts, drums, roar of the crowd and this guy is dedicating the next song to a dear friend. He comes and hugs. A woman in long flowing white gown takes the blackened stage, cups the microphone in her hands and sings, “We’re walking in the air…”
I scroll down. Another video: A punked out Asian girl is distorted by leaning so close to the camera. She’s cupping… a karoke ? mic and singing out of key with complete earnestness, “We’re walking in the air…”
I scroll down some more. Yet another Nightwish video. Appparently this rock band in Europe has made a version with a montage of painted and photographed images to accompany their rendition. It’s all about(to my mind) incredible night skys but in the last third, during the refrain, the images switch to different cultures: Asian, Native American.
What is going on here?
Boy soprano, opera star, old cartoon Holiday special, rock concert, and karoke. Not just here on Atlanta's PBS radio, but in Europe, Asia… the images made it clear… all around the world people are being caught up by this old song. They’re singing in every way shape and form, “We’re walking in the air…”
So, what is going on here? I think I know...
Hearts are being opened. Longing and desire, hopes so very private and tender you only dare to let them out cushioned by the darkness of the night are finally being freed. And it seems that in every one of those hearts there is hope and longing to transcend borders, boundaries, gravity.
This is one expression of spiritual awakening, the stirring of our souls.
For walking in the air… the spirit taking flight in simply shear delight (sorry, I started singing) …flying in the air is the time honored dream image of spiritual longing.
And we- you, me and the whole human population of this planet need to know that anything is possible if we just wake up.
We need to realize that hearts are being opened. And in that act there is always hope.
And I do hope your computer can connect to YouTube and see the video.
I’ll try to get that link up and going. …anything is possible.
And PS: After writing this, I went to Flickr for an image. Click on it. I promise I didn't fiddle with the entry in the slightest way. I tell you, the dream is everywhere.
Monday, January 01, 2007
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my new Blog site. It’s not really meant to be a chatty place. Rather, it’s meant to be an online gallery where I can share my paintings and images. I call it Silence: A Gallery.
The name is meant to emphasize that what I am attempting in my art is to awaken the experience of Silence in others. Silence is the form in which I most readily experience the Absolute. Some have called it Zen mind. I’m not sure the words or exact term matters. What matters is the experience.
But, by way of commentary, I do offer these words by Edward Readicker Henderson which I have excerpted from his article, “The Sounds of Silence,” that appears in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Spirituality and Health.
Holding very still, I listen, hard.
Some people say they have heard the northern lights, a crackling like sheets from the dryer and full of static.
I don’t hear anything.
And that makes me wonder: what else am I not hearing? …
Sounds arise, fall away, as transient as the breath itself. From where I sit, writing on my back porch, I hear the scratch of my pen on the paper, the neighbor’s radio, the creak of my oak chair when I lean back. The jet buzz of a rufus hummingbird punctuating the chirp of at least three other kinds of birds I can’t name.
I feel stupid for having no words to describe their sounds, no language that can even meet theirs with understanding…
I hear buses rumble by past a block away.
I cannot hear the slightest trace of the butterfly that flits its pale wings over the vast expanse of my unmowed lawn. Not the slightest trace.
What else am I missing?…
If I sit hear long enough, will I hear a sound that suddenly makes it all make sense, the tracer bullet of enlightenment hitting me right in the third eye?
Or will I simply hear butterfly winds?
Zen master Dongshen wrote, “How extraordinary! How extraordinary! The insentient express the Way! How mysterious! If you listen with your ears, it is incomprehensible. If you hear sounds with the eyes, it is truly knowable.”
So I invite you to visit Silence: a Gallery. (I've added a link to the links list.) Perhaps you will experience some hint of what awaits discovery when "you hear sounds with the eyes."
Namaste and Happy New Year.