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those greater forces around us

Less than a month to our silent meditation retreat in the Serra de Monchique, Portugal. Some of you are making the journey from other parts of the planet just to come and share this week of intense practice with me. I feel gratitude and am humbled for your showing up.

To sit still in silence for a week is a rare occasion to recollect body-mind and gather oneself in the presence of greater forces and to sense, at moments when the ripples on the mind calm down, the posture becomes alive, the breathing deepens, our sense of connectedness with all that is.

When we awaken it is always about awakening to the presence of these greater forces, or in the words of Rilke, greater beings: the greater forces of the present moment in an unfolding that is timeless, the unknown that is refreshing as it invites to shed certainties and beliefs, and silence that is the language in which emptiness reveals itself to us.

What emptiness gifts us with is not the ability to let go of the things we hold onto that are cumbersome. Rather, shunyata helps with seeing that there is no one there; here or anywhere to hold on to anything, which makes of letting go another story, another thing you feel you need to achieve.

A great part of our strife and suffering is about us wanting to disprove this for we feel our stories are real.

But to say us, what does this mean? Probing the question is what silent sitting is about. What does it mean to be somebody? What do I mean when I say this is me? What does it mean to posit oneself as a subject in the face of what I perceive to be myriad objects; objects of my desires, hopes, and fear? All this, we never really examine enough.

A major implication of gaining insight into this is the easing of the seriousness with which we usually hold ourselves and our views.

Wherever we are we find ourselves in the midst of a paradox. We begin to deeply relax, no matter the circumstances, when it dawns on us that we just need to live, as freely as we can, and that we need not worry about finding answers to life as life is just what is. What just is is called simplicity.

What is is a simplicity that no question could ever capture.

Since I've learned to be silent, everything has come so much closer to me - Rilke.

Since I've learned to be silent, everything has come so much closer to me - Rilke.

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