Saint Bernard's Parish

I’ve decided to take this next week “off” from discursive blogging. Although I’ll post daily photos as a way of saying “I’m still here,” I’m feeling the need for silence. When Chris and I lived at the Cambridge Zen Center, I’d often observe days of silence as a way of heightening my meditation practice. Meditation is essentially about investigating your karma: what are these habitual thought-patterns that course and chase through my consciousness, and who is this “I” who experiences them? As none other than Elmer Fudd knows, it’s important to be vewy, vewy qwiet when you’re hunting wabbits…so how much more quiet should you be when you’re hunting your True Self?

Rusty wall

There’s an old Zen saying that “silence is better than holiness.” This means Zen isn’t about right and wrong behavior; it’s about investigating your life. Those of us who read, write, and teach for a living tend to have over-active discursive minds: we think, write, and speak words, words, words. Although words can be one aid in attaining truth, ultimately words alone cannot help. Silence allows an open space for unpredictability: when I stop Knowing and Saying, a space for Simply Understanding appears. And although my students wouldn’t believe it, sometimes even I grow tired of the sound of my own voice. Sometimes the best way to understand what is going on in your head and in the lives of people around you is simply to sit back and watch, silent.

Sun on bricks

So this next week, I’ll be trying to be better than holy…at least here on this blog. I hope you’ll stop by to browse the daily photos; I hope you’ll pause and even rest a spell. But forgive me if I’m not very talkative during these visits: forgive me if for a couple of days here I let my pictures do the talking.