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as long as she tunes in to the wind singing in the pines

Updated: Jul 3

daybreak silent retreat payangan bali

To sit with others in silence and stillness, what is it? An experience for each person to discover. As distinctive as what is uncovered may be, it has a qulaity of something shared, communal and beyond that, universal, to it. To sit with others over the years has brought me much joy. Here, I try to render this deeper feeling through some words.


Often overlooked, the collective aspect of a silent retreat is an essential part of the experience.

This is just as much an individual time of practice as it is one of practicing with and for others. I come to the awareness, suddenly or over time, a suddenness that always surges out of time but abolishes what comes to us with and over time, that while my intent and efforts are directed towards paying attention to my inner processes, I am actually in a field where the presence of others feels indivisible from mine.

When the depths of being open us up, expressed otherwise, when the heart opens, the hard boarders between us and what we think is outside of us begin to fade away. They don't dissolve, they are, will be and need to be here, but we start seeing them as arbitrary, no longer a defining part of who we are or what reality is about. They serve a purpose, but that purpose in no way limits or define us for to open up is to let go of definitions.

This is what practice clarifies; what separates me from the world are my thoughts, and meditation is to learn to see and step beyond these limitations.

When what walls me in is illumined, I awaken to a sense of the inclusiveness of all that is, or another name for that: reality.

Reality as the sense of the mutual belonging of all that is. When my self is no longer centered around me, or rather, when the me is no longer the center but but the embodiment of the sense of inter-dependence, who I am and who you are dissipate to reveal a seamless flow that is both timeless and boundless, personal and impersonal at the same time. Another word for this would be agapé, love.

In his Four Quartets, Eliot wrote: Humankind can not bear very much reality.

True only as far as I have not emerged yet from the anonymity of my condition to become a human in whom reality clarifies itself as an intimate expression of the interconnectedness of all things.

Realization of suchness, tathata: the reality I no longer have to bear for reality has no bearing; groundlessness as the very nature of things with no one to bear it whenever someone comes to awaken.

That someone comes to awaken is what we call a Buddha. Chan master Lin Chi calls her a person of no rank. Yet that someone is at the same time a no one for Buddha is no particular person. And that no particular person is a no one who at the same time is everyone and everything for as long as she is attuned to the singing of the wind in the pines and that is timeless.

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