13 June 2017
Silence, however, is not merely the absence of speech…. It is a depth, a fullness, a peaceful flow of hidden life. ~Ladislaus Boros, God is With Us
Perhaps it shouldn’t have surprised me that when I started working with trust I experienced a collapse of it. I lurched into fear that my words were preachy, a silly waste of time. I blanked out, empty of ideas to work my way forward with. I wanted to be authentic. . . I didn’t feel like enough.
I recognized the irony. I could chuckle at this. It didn’t make it all go away.
Showing up here, to explore the language of living, is one of the ways I dig in. Another is tapping inward toward a deeper self. Settling into the calm that is linked to breath. Into the wisdom that arises from a place other than rational thought. These last weeks, my grasping and straining could only pry open the tiniest crack into that realm. Which, of course, amped my anxiety higher.
There is the story of the Zen disciple walking a mountain trail with his master who asks ‘What should I do to attain masterhood?’ They continue walking for a while before the master responds, ‘Do you hear the stream?’ The novice listens, focusing all his attention, and finally hears the soft, wispy murmur of a distant stream. ‘Yes!’ ‘Then, listen to that,’ the master replies. They walk on. After a while the novice has another question. ’What if I had not heard anything?’ ‘Then I would have told you to listen to that.’
This is how it feels sometimes. Like listening to nothing. I can’t always hear the water. It is hushed and subtle when what I want is a blaring bullhorn. That quiet can feel like emptiness or rejection, abandonment or failure. But this is the pool stilling itself. It takes times for the tea to steep and the bread to rise.
And, this is trust. Trust that the tea will reach its peak. Trust that understanding is offstage, waiting for its cue to arrive. Trust that the pool will settle and clear while I become receptive and truly available.
There is not always an answer in this moment or a resolution at hand. We are asked to persist in trusting the quiet wisdom inside and the peace we can cultivate.