sharing silence: “Nothing in all creation is so like God as silence.” ~ Meister Eckhart
“… silence is the source of all that exists …” ~ Gunilla Norris
The American Thanksgiving holiday is tomorrow … where family and friends gather to celebrate and honor whatever they are thankful for. We (Cherie & Sanjiv) tend to think of everyday as a day to be thankful. What a tremendous difference that makes – ‘course we do “fall down” at times 🙂 … but the “practice” continues and the softening of attitude is just one of the many gifts arising from the ongoing and sustained fostering of gratitude.
At Stillness Speaks, we encourage cultivation of stillness and silence … simply because of the profound – and largely inexpressible – gifts inherent in such an “undertaking” or “practice.”
So, this thanksgiving we’re suggesting a deepening of the silence through “sharing silence” in these gatherings – that’ll make for some interesting Thanksgivings!?! 🙂 🙂 …
Numbers have power and the shared intentions of a group ultimately yield “more than the sum” … because any intentional focus is further multiplied with “group-consciousness” … much has been written about this topic (that easily merits a series of its own)… but, for now, we offer a very simple rationale as suggested by Gunilla Norris (the author of Inviting Silence: Universal Principles of Meditation – full attribution at the bottom of the post) :
To come together in silence
—even just a very few people—
creates a field of consciousness,
an awareness force.
This power helps us to see
our lives more truly.
Each of us can make a tremendous difference
simply through our intent and constancy.
Of course, silence as an underpinning of coming together – or friendship – is always worthwhile … as Confucius reminds us: “… silence is the friend that never betrays …”
So, today we offer Gunilla’s words on Sharing Silence (excerpted from her book: Inviting Silence) … especially in the context of relationship …
Sharing Silence … in Relationship
“… Within each of us there is a silence – a silence as vast as the Universe …”
The process of learning who we are
—and who we might become—continues
through all the relationships of our lives.
In the deep resonance of companionship
we dare to journey to the center.
It is important to recognize how much we need
each other. This recognition removes the illusion
that we are self-created. It teaches us that giving
and taking are like inhaling and exhaling
—the breath of relationship.
By recognizing our need for each other we acknowledge
that every aspect of reality is connected to the whole,
that nothing is separate from us.
Sharing silence with others creates a bond
that cannot be compared to ordinary exchanges.
It helps us know that each of us is essential:
a vibrating essence. We can sense that vibration.
We can feel it singing in our cells.
. . .
. . .
When we support the silence in one another,
we discover what we each have been given to be.
The silence in each of us is the medium
through which the words we are may be spoken,
clearly and purely. In silence we are revealed.
This is universal and very personal.
Aside from covering the basics of how to go about shared meditation (which does not need any elaboration here), Gunilla also talks about the importance of punctuality, mutuality, inspiration, dedication, and continuity for such endeavors … you can read about these in her book … but the dedication part is worth a few words here: dedication allows us to open the “field of focus” to a larger purpose … and Gunilla has a simple – yet profound – suggestion about how to dedicate each session of shared silence:
Every period of silence can mindfully be dedicated
to the suffering and beauty of aspects of our world.
We can donate our thoughts, our goodwill and
our money to causes that pull on our hearts.
We can dedicate our work to the big work
—the shared gift of peace.
~ Gunilla Norris
The above excerpts are from the poem titled Relationships, from the section, Sharing Silence, which is from Gunilla Norris’ book Inviting Silence: Universal Principles of Meditation … The dedication related excerpt, at the end, is from the poem Dedication in the same section.
In addition to “dedicating our work to the big work,” we can actually take some tangible actions to bring more peace and harmony in these troubled times…
Here’s a gentle reminder to help those in times of extreme need … to that end we highlight two “hubs” of giving from which you can select your desired recipient(s) …
1) Direct Relief, which is “… a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay …” … and since 1948, it “… has worked to help people who confront enormous hardship to recover from disasters and improve the quality of their lives. The tradition of direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding …”
2) Go Fund Me continues to be a platform (amongst many others) for exercising – and deepening – our kindness and compassion. To this end, we have selected a few “pertinent to this time” campaigns that bring relief … for animals during natural disaster (like the llming IDA Hurricane) … for a family that lost the father – a marine in Afghanistan – while expecting a new baby … for small businesses … for restaurant workers – the world over …
Also, … here’s a GoFundMe blog post Fundraising for Coronavirus Relief: How You Can Help the Fight that offers a very comprehensive map for the COVID relief efforts including how you can help, what to give to, and lots more … We are supporting some of these campaigns personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations).
— — — —
We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then please do so …
Of course, there are many more worthy and noble efforts – the ones highlighted here are simply suggestions that may inspire you to donate to whatever effort you are drawn to …
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May you practice the sharing of silence … this Thanksgiving with your family and friends … and … in your everyday life … and …
May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these troubling times.