Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've just finished "Listening Below the Noise - A meditation on the practice of silence" by Anne D. LeClaire. This isn't a book about how to meditate. It's an exploration of silence in daily life. The author began, on a whim, to spend one day a month in silence. She later made it the first and third Monday of each month. In her book she explores her many and varied experiences with this practice, both her own, and the responses of others to her practice. At the end of her book she offers up some small ways to find more silence in your life.

The only time I almost put the book down was when she mentioned Masaru Emoto, the guy who says that speaking nicely to water changes its structure. Sorry, but I think that's pseudoscience. It added a momentary cringe factor for me. There are enough amazing things in nature without making stuff up. But I kept reading and that turned out to be the only place where I felt uncomfortable with her writing.
From the book...
"I once read that the Inuit and Igloolik have more than two hundred words for snow, and I envy them a language that can encompass the many subtleties of a single idea. I've read, too, that in the Buddhist tradition of Southeast Asia there are twenty-one different words for silence. In my dictionary, few synonyms are listed. Muteness. Stillness. A thesaurus doesn't offer many more. Quiescence, Peace. Wordless-ness. Quietude. Quiet.
But just as there are countless varieties of lilies, there are different kinds of silence, as many as there are intentions and reasons behind it. It can be gentle and peaceful. Risky and brave. Angry and punishing. Thoughtful and wise. Intimate. Loving. Restorative. Reflective. Sacred or profane. It can be used to honor or to shame. To diminish or empower.
How many words would it require to reveal all its multitudinous nuances and intents?
Two hundred?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


"But if one says: I cannot come because it is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egosticial or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it -- like a secret vice". - Anne Morrow Lindberg - quoted in "Listening Below the Noise - A Meditation on the Practice of Silence" by Anne D. LeClaire

I loved coming across this quote. Being alone is my secret vice, although I'd never quite thought of it that way until now. I think that makes it feel even more delicious!

I think I won't put a photo with this piece. When I looked up images for "alone" most of the pictures were of people alone and sad or alone and frightened or with other people holding their hands saying "you are not alone".

Even now I find myself tempted to make excuses...to explain myself. But I think I won't.


Its hard to avoid reading or hearing about the craziness that passes for debate over healthcare reform of late. I was reminded of this prayer for teacher and student from the Upanishads. Its very old. I don't know for sure how it was used. But legend has it that it was chanted prior to teaching by both student and teacher. I would so love if this attitude could be cultivated today as we work through difficult and complicated topics that affect us all.

May we be protected together.

May we be nourished together.

May we work together, uniting our strength for the good of humanity.

May our learning be enlightening and purposeful.

May we never hate each other.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti...Peace.