Exploring how Silence and the Contemplative Way infuse into our ordinary everyday active lives, how Awareness manifests itself, and how we respond to the call to surrender to the divinity within.

Sunday, 12 July 2015


I watch people in the world 
Throw away their lives lusting after things, 
Never able to satisfy their desires, 
Falling into deeper despair 
And torturing themselves. 
Even if they get what they want 
How long will they be able to enjoy it? 
For one heavenly pleasure 
They suffer ten torments of hell, 
Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone. 
Such people are like monkeys 
Frantically grasping for the moon in the water 
And then falling into a whirlpool. 
How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer. 
Despite myself, I fret over them all night 
And cannot staunch my flow of tears. 

Like one of Ryokan's monkeys, I can catch myself engaged in confused frantic actions, with the mind fixed tightly in some automatic or repetitive thinking mode. It is rarely restful, sometimes creative and excited, but all too often it returns to an ingrained habit of anxiety and restlessness. It is also the strongest reminder that I am making restlessness my practice - Oops, there I go again, worrying about whether the oven is off.... Did I manage to send that email? ... I wish my colleague and I got on better.... Is that a flu coming on?

We can find a tremendous process for transformation using a Contemplative Practice. We find a practice which brings us home. We might even come to accept that it may never be possible to prevent these momentary states of mind from arising. We are human, after all. That's nature being natural. However, we also come to know that these are passing states of mind, alluding to passing triggers and circumstances, in a world which is forever changing. The moon is not in the water. Planting ourselves here will not make us happy, safe or content.

You must rise above
the gloomy clouds
covering the mountaintop
otherwise, how will you
ever see the brightness?

It is in the practice of relying on our deepest Knowing, of being comfortable with Unknowing, that we come home to ourselves. We come to know we were always home all along, we just didn't recognise the house or the neighbours' cat.

The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls...
Thomas Merton

When our own words fail us, when our understanding falls short, we lean on those who can remind us of Silence, Beingness, Presence, of our true nature in the depths of each moment. The continuous sinking back into Silence needs to be our primary practice.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.