Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SILENCE

I'm puzzled and a little distressed by my long silence. I think I have never remained silent for so long in The Buddha Diaries, and the blog has been going, unbelievably, since January, 2007--almost without a break. That's over 2,300 posts! It has been my constant companion, and I have written frequently about my gratitude for the blog and its readers.

So it does seem strange to have written nothing at all for the past couple of weeks. In part, I tell myself, it has to do with the season. I have become a bit of a Grinch. I found myself at Los Angeles airport on December 3rd, the date of my last entry, forced to listen to amplified recordings of Rudolf and Jingle Bells at the United terminal. The pitiless stream of Christmas "music" and its associated commercialism starts--we all know this--at Halloween, and the "holiday season" continues uninterrupted from then through the New Year. It's enough to drive a Grinch crazy, or at least into silence.

Another factor, I think, is the endlessly horrible news that reaches us from all parts of the world, and the peculiarly vile tone of American politics. What to say, in view of all this, beyond the expression of dismay and disbelief? I am stunned into silence.

I recall the moment I first fell into the blogosphere, like Alice through the looking-glass. It was the day following the re-election of George W. Bush--another occasion that left me in stunned disbelief and asking this question: What can I do, what can I do? What can I actually do, in the face of this nonsense? And I realized, Well, the only thing I know how to do is write. And I fell, as I say, to my amazement, through the looking-glass, and started to write my first blog, The Bush Diaries.

And now, again, I find myself asking, What can I do, what can I do? And I look to my meditation practice and think, Well, here's something that brings peace and goodwill into the world. And, having done that, I turned to our local Los Angeles community network, "Nextdoor Franklin Hills," which allows us to communicate with our neighbors--and they with us. So I put out word on this network that I'd be interested in starting a sitting group in our neighborhood, would anyone be interested in joining me?

And have been amazed and much gratified by the response. I now have a group of more than 25 people who wrote back with interest and enthusiasm, and I'm organizing a first, get-to-know-you and logistics meeting for early January, to get this thing off the ground.

Silence, I have learned in meditation, is a good thing. It's healthy, it helps to keep the mind focussed and clear. It generates goodwill. And what I have learned, I now hope to be able to share with a few others, a few neighbors, as the New Year begins. It's a start...

5 comments:

robin andrea said...

We are living in such interesting and baffling times. I never would have guessed the world would look the way it does, when I was young and thinking of the future. It is disappointing and not at all going the way my enthusiastic heart imagined. I understand the silence. If I didn't go outside to find something beautiful to photograph, there would be silence on Dharma Bums. I hope you'll post about the neighborhood gatherings. It may be something we could try here in our small town on the far north coast. Happy Holidays!

Jean said...

Glad to hear from you, Peter - I was about to write and ask if you were ok. But periods of silence are good, I think, and make the words more meaningful. Warmest seasonal greetings, and all the best to your meditation group.

WITTY WALKERS said...

WEll done Peter ...what a good idea. I am not surprised that you have had such a good response.! My own experience has taught me that fellowship is is a precious gift to people. You yourself cam on one of our walks. Well this year is the 25th year we have been doing them every month out in the Catalan hills away from crowds and noise. The attraction is the easy friendship and communication without hurry without noise, sometimes silent as we share the wonders of creation sometimes just for the joy of communication in silence. There are never leass than 30 or so and many times well over that.

Very happy festive days and all good wishes for the 2016 to you and all your loved ones

Love and hugs

Michael

Anonymous said...

the politics have been glum,

perhaps after the New Year times will be more optimistic. cheers

PeterAtLarge said...

How wonderful--on Boxing Day--to find these responses, all so welcome. Michael, our Witty Walk remains a treasured memory, even though it brought me to the point of poignantly remembered terror! Anonymous, I hope you're right. Fingers crossed! Jean, thanks for your thoughtfulness. You share with Robin not only the passion for photography, but also the wisdom to recognize the beauty where you find it. Blessings to all.