Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Speech and Silence


Enough Said

A time for the i to rest

Feb 11, 2023

Henri Nouwen, Suzuki Roshi, resting the ego, silence, spiritual contemplation, silence and words, moderation in speech

Calm and Quiet

Calm and Quiet

Back River. Georgetown Island, Maine

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One reason intentional silence is important is speech is a chief means by which we call attention to ourselves and our opinions, and we try to inform, convince, or impress others. In silence, the ego is invited to rest; there, we can abide in loving awareness of our Source and appreciation of our true selves, not needing to try to reflect ourselves through the responses of others. In prayerful silence, I am no one; yet, no one breathes through the boundlessness in which I am included with everyone in the one Life-Giving. Silence and love go together.

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In the summer of 1968, an entourage of Japanese and Western Zen teachers visited Tassajara [Zen center founded in California by Suzuki Roshi] for a couple of days. At a general meeting in the zendo, students were encouraged to ask questions.

Out of the sixty or seventy people in the zendo, I was the only one to raise a hand. I asked, "What is the best way to establish Zen in America?"

It was announced that four of them would answer this question. In dramatic fashion, the first three responses urged us to practice zazen with great determination, to attain enlightenment, and to establish meditation centers throughout the United States.

As the host, Suzuki Roshi was the last to speak. When his turn came, he stood up, quietly said, "I have nothing to say," and walked out a side door.

The zendo literally shook with our laughter as the session came to a surprisingly abrupt end.

*David Chadwick, Ed. Zen Is Right Here: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki.

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The Sage was asked, "Why are your talks so short?" He answered, "When enough is said, enough is said, and often enough said is before anything is said."

*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."

I invite you to contemplate the following words from the late Catholic contemplative Henri Nouwen, from his Clowning in Rome; while he is speaking to a Christian audience, his words apply to everyone. How do they apply to you?

There is so much emphasis on words in the media, newspapers, study days, and sharing sessions that it seems important to deepen our realization that words can only bear fruit when they are born in silence.

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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2023.

*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and title and place of photograph.

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.


Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Speech and Silence

©Brian Wilcox 2023