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Always something to see, something to hear...

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(no subject) [Sep. 26th, 2006|09:07 pm]
Always something to see, something to hear...


Here's a poem I wrote, after 3 months of not really writing poems; a type of silence, one might say. I am posting this in honor of Jake, my deepest friend on this journey.



I didn’t know it was possible to breathe deeper but then

I fell off my bike breaking my toe and I had to walk slow

and the world slowed down with me down slowed world the and I

started to hear differently hear to started I and

leaves fell like pages and I didn’t care if I ever wrote another word again.


I threw “silence parties” with my friend Jake we would wander

for hours never speaking never making a sound

we would just be humans together just be

like ducks are just ducks

just are breathing we would watch them for hours and

sometimes they would watch us and nothing never happened

because everything was happening all around us all at once

we were so still that when the wind came blowing through it was

a crescendo a momentous event

a breeze felt like breaking news

so a bird rising out of the water to fly

was nothing short of a miracle the pattern its lifting feet made

in the water was an art was everywhere and everywhere was art.


One night Jake and I got lost in my own neighborhood

we remained silent pointing and guessing he gave me a piggy-back ride

when my foot started to hurt the roads I noticed were zig-zagged with tar

curvaceous black lines thick curves winding indecipherable script

in the language of tar a pattern a construction worker

must have incidentally made did he know it was art

did he know that lost one summer evening

it would make my journey more beautiful

more journey more road less destination more art

did he know he was an artist?


One afternoon on a silent walk we wandered into a laundromat symphony

rattling metal drums spinning sound it was orchestral

I stood a silent animal in a room of trembling metallic bodies

was I trembling too am I trembling now?

does a bird tremble as it surrounds itself with sky? what sound

lives in its hollow bones? I stood wordless with Jake

feeling like we were on another planet but we were just breathing

inside a laundromat on an afternoon in July and what could be more

miraculous? What could be more beautiful more journey

more road less destination more art than



I felt I could never speak again and be happy

never even think again just be empty

hollow-boned body of sky trembling

never butterfly-pin the wings of words to a page again

never write again for a poet this was huge I wanted only to resonate

to vibrate to be sound to be to breathe to live a life more beautiful

more journey more art

to listen.


After hours of silence

each word I said was a century of speaking

touching the piano keys was a momentous event like touching the sky

note by note the patterns emerged without my knowing

step by step we found our way home in the dark

and each sound entered my body and shook me deeper than bone

it was as if I was empty

and everything was here to fill me

to be my water

to zig-zag wildly before me only once

to speak to me in its own language

the language of trees, of ducks, and washing machines.


I am learning that there is time

there is time for it all time for birds time for me

time for you time for healing time for breath

there is time to write this poem

there is time for every poem of my life

I don’t have to chase the words down blind alleys screaming


there is time to stop.

Silence will teach us what words cannot.


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(no subject) [Sep. 5th, 2006|08:05 pm]
Always something to see, something to hear...

"Some people find it easier to play a violin concerto or to make or lose a million dollars than to sit still for thirty minutes.

'Fidget' comes from an Old Norse word that means 'to desire eagerly.' Fidgeting and boredom are the symptoms of fear of emptiness, which we try to fill up with whatever we can lay our hands on. We are taught to be bored, to seek easy entertaintment, to ardently desire the ephemeral. There are multibillion dollar industries - television, alcohol, tobacco, drugs - based on feeding this fear of emptiness."

-from Free Play; Improvisations in Life and Art Stephen Nachmanovitch
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Silence & joy & stuff [Aug. 23rd, 2006|09:23 pm]
Always something to see, something to hear...

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your
table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet,
still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you
to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy
at your feet.

-- Franz Kafka
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Oh google [Aug. 21st, 2006|03:19 pm]
Always something to see, something to hear...

There are a lot of good ones out there, here are a few:

"Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence. "
- Deepak Chopra

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from."
--Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls."
--Mother Teresa

"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

"The more articulate somebody is, the more suspicious I am of them. I like to feel that the important things remain unsaid. "
-- Daniel Day-Lewis (teehee)

"Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent."
--Dionysius the Elder

"We in the "developed" world seem to have many auditory strategies that insulate us from the presence of silence, simplicity, and solitude. When I return to Western culture after time in desert, mountain or forest, I discover how we have filled our world with a multiplicity of noises, a symphony of forgetfulness that keeps our won thoughts and realizations, feelings and intuitions out of audible range."
--Joan Halifax

"A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side."
--Anne Morrow Lindberg

"Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much." - Robert Greenleaf
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We're very threatened by nothing happening [Aug. 17th, 2006|09:40 pm]
Always something to see, something to hear...

"What we find if we're not used to sitting quietly with ourselves, not used to meditation, not used to having any inner solitude in our lives, we find that we're very threated by nothing happening." - Pema Chodron (from the same video Shira referenced in the previous post)
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A year! It makes my heart beat faster... [Aug. 15th, 2006|10:18 am]
Always something to see, something to hear...


From an interview...

BILL MOYERS: That's what intrigues me about you Buddhists. Is you go for long periods of time deep in to realms the rest of us are hardly aware of. What was the longest period you experienced silence?

PEMA CHÖDRÖN: I guess a year.

BILL MOYERS: A year. What happens during that period?

PEMA CHÖDRÖN: The first thing that happens is you climb the walls. This is personal with me. It doesn't happen anymore. But because the detox is so intense, I remember thinking like, someone coming to the door to just drop off a note or something. And I felt like I was in Kansas, and Oz was outside the door. You know, it's like sensory deprivation. But, gradually, what begins to happen is that you sink so deeply into what life has been distracting you from. Because it's a definition of no distractions. That's the purpose of the retreat, no distractions. You quickly learn that distractions are not just phone calls and emails and outer phenomena. Our own mind, and our longings, and our cravings, and our fantasies and everything are also major distractions. And, as time goes on, and you're feeding it less because no talking. You begin to sink deeper into the undistracted state. And then you begin to realize that life is always pulling you away from being fully present.

BILL MOYERS: Fully present. What is that?

PEMA CHÖDRÖN: It is basically a wide awake state where your sense perceptions are wide open, in the tradition I follow. And if you could imagine seeing and hearing, tasting and smelling and so forth, without any filter between you and your experience. It's as if suddenly all of your sense perceptions have been like narrow little slits. And now they're wide open. Like they have no outer dimension. But let me say this, if the result of that life was that I had to stay in that seclusion, I wouldn't think I had it measured up to a hill of beans. So, for me, I always go out and in, in and out of this kind of situation. Because I want to go deeper. But, the only reason I want to go deeper is to be there for other people in increasingly difficult situations. It's kind of based on deeply longing to be free of suffering and then it extends to wanting other people to be free of suffering. And the suffering that you see escalated in the world. And one of the principle teachings of the Buddha was that he said, "I teach only two things. Suffering and the end of suffering." So this conviction that sentient beings could be free of suffering, they could end their suffering. That doesn't mean physical pain. It doesn't mean outer circumstances being unpleasant. It means what you do with the things that happen. 

(from http://www.pbs.org/moyers/print/faithandreason107_print.html. I recommend watching the video; it was well-worth it for me. Quite lovely, and full of wonderful reminders. You can watch it here: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/portraits_chodron.html)

At times when Jake and I are doing silent parties I feel, quite honestly, that I could never talk again and be happy. Of course, I go back to talking. But thinking of taking a year to not talk, to be silent, well, it makes my heart beat faster. In those hours that Jake and I are silent I feel like the volume knob has been turned up on life, my sense of hearing expands, and my sense of being in the moment expands. I wonder about the potential for doing this for days at a time, what boxes it would open up, the challenges, the joys. The question is, what would a year of silence entail? Could I make music (maybe no singing, but banging on pots and pans is okay?) or, no banging on pots and pans because that is not silence. Could I whistle? Could I be around others? I suppose it depends on the intention of the year of silence - whether it be isolation, or to limit distractions, or simply to not talk - or all three. I hear that some retreats ask you not to write for the whole retreat, while others ask you not to talk to others, while others still have other rules... 

What if I went on a silent roadtrip? With as minimal noise as possible. No music in the car, no friends to talk with, no writing...  What if school didn't ask us to write, ever? How would classes be run? What would teachers expect? What if families had a silence day, where no one spoke to each other, but they cooked silently together, ate silent dinners, washed dishes silently, sat around in the living room, without the TV on this time, just sitting... I wonder how they ways in which we relate to one another would change...

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(no subject) [Aug. 15th, 2006|08:00 am]
Always something to see, something to hear...

Hey Shira, Gabe:

Silence party at jamaica pond, wednesday (tomorrow) afternoon? I have a lesson at 2:20 and gabe has work at night, I thought after the lesson could be a swell time. Let me know

edit: i have a lesson with jesse today, wonder if he'd be down, i'll ask
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