Is there enough silence for the Word to be heard?
October 2019 (Vol. XXXII, No. 9 )
Dear Friends ~ In autumn, the golden glow of tawny hues signals the waning of the chlorophyll that has been transforming sunlight into food. Trees let go of their leaves, plants their flowers, and we let go of bird song and water play and butterflies on the wing. Fall is the season of letting go. In the inner landscape of our hearts perhaps it is a time for forgiveness, the letting go of past hurts and misunderstandings, of anger and resentment. Perhaps it is a time for letting go of our expectations - maybe of what we thought we needed or what we thought we ought to have or the way we intended something to be done - so that we can embrace with gratitude what is. We often think of spring as a time for new beginnings, yet beginnings need space and time and endings and clearing away and incubation in order to emerge. So perhaps autumn is actually a fitting moment to embark on our own "beginning anew ceremony" by taking the first step and letting go.
Linda DeGraf © 2019

Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like Moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

~ "The Bright Field" by R. S. Thomas. Read more in  Collected Poems 1945-1990 is not the thing itself...that is the problem; but it is our clinging to the thing even when it causes us, ourselves, and others mental or physical pain, which blinds us to a bigger view and snowballs into more suffering. Ultimately, the challenge of letting go becomes a spiritual act in some way: in many spiritual traditions, surrender is the backbone, as Mohammed says in the Qur'an, "True religion is surrender." And so as we grasp at the beautiful red leaf, we just might let it spin again in the autumn wind, delighting in that tiny leaf-filled and empty moment.

~ by Patricia Donegan. From Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan

I catch
the maple leaf then let
it go

~ John Wills

Linda DeGraf © 2017
The cosmos is filled with precious gems.
I want to offer a handful of them to you this morning.

Each moment you are alive is a gem,
shining through and containing Earth and sky,
Water and clouds.

It needs you to breathe gently
for the miracles to be displayed.
Suddenly you hear the birds singing,
the pines chanting...

You, the richest person on Earth,
who have been going around begging,
stop being the destitute child.
Come back and claim your heritage.
Enjoy your happiness
and offer it to everyone.
Cherish this very moment.
Let go of the stream of distress
and embrace life fully in your arms.

~ from "Our True Heritage" by Thich Nhat Hanh. Read more in Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh

I wonder if gratefulness is the bridge from sorrow to joy, spanning the chasm of our anxious striving. Freed from the burden of unbridled desires, we can enjoy what we have, celebrate what we've attained, and appreciate the familiar. For if we can't be happy now, we'll likely not be happy when.

~ Philip Gulley. Read More in Hometown Tales by Philip Gulley

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin... be not therefore anxious for the morrow for the morrow will be anxious for itself.

~ Matt 6: 28, 34

When I started the practice of "no preference," a special quality of mind began to grow- a unique understanding and affirmation of the way things are- and I discovered something extraordinary: the heart of stillness sits perfectly balanced in the middle of chaos. This is the true dwelling place of the soul.

~ by David A. Cooper from Enduring the Sacred Mountain. Read more from David A. Cooper in The Handbook of Jewish Meditation Practices

Forgiveness is a complex experience that changes an offended person's spiritual feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and self-confidence level. I believe learning to forgive the hurts and grudges of our life may be an important step for us to feel more hopeful and spiritually connected and less depressed.

~ by Fred Luskin from Forgive for Good

Linda DeGraf © 2017
If the heart has forgiven and excused,
Offenses will not be remembered.
They are remembered only in the attic, the memory,
Without the heart's participation.

~ by Damascene from Christ the Eternal Tao 

Each day that passes,
the sage discards another useless weight.
Finally all the accumulated burden
of a life spent seeking something
is gone.
In its place is a lightness of being
and a clarity of seeing
that makes a heaven
of each moment.

~ from "What Will Be Left is Life Itself" in The Sage's Tao Te Ching 

Linda DeGraf © 2019
O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher,
   for I wish to learn the virtue of contentment....
I live in a society that is ever-restless,
   always eager for more mountains to climb,
   seeking happiness through more and more possessions...
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received,
   may I know that it's enough,
   that my striving can cease
   in the abundance of God's grace...
As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
   let me also take delight
   in the abundance of the simple things in life
   which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
   may I truly appreciate this autumn day.

~ Edward Hays in Earth Prayers ed. Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon

Longing for our idealized images of life separates us from our true selves and from our true callings.

~ Stephen Cope. Read more: The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope

Linda DeGraf © 2019

One leaf left on a branch
and not a sound of sadness
or despair. One leaf left
on a branch and no unhappiness.
One leaf left all by itself
in the air and it does not speak
of loneliness or death.
One leaf and it spends itself
in swaying mildly in the breeze.

~ David Ignatow. Read more in David Ignatow: Selected Poems

Keith Jones Pomeroy © 2018
2019 Retreat at Friends of Silence

Mr. Gurdjieff, meet Mr. Teilhard! A practical and intensive exploration of the convergence between two wisdom streams,
October 28 - November 2, 2019 or
December 1 - 6, 2019 at Claymont Society for Continuous Education in Charles Town, WV

Homing in Winter Restorying, nature, and soul for the Solstice
  December 13 - 15, 2019 at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat (near Harpers Ferry WV).

Singing the Trees: Chant, Nature and Soul
 Join us as we sing and chant, listen to the music around us, and walk the companionship of the trees. 
April 24 - 26, 2020  at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat (near Harpers Ferry WV).

Or schedule your own Personal Retreat.

Friends of Silence is devoted to nurturing those who reverence silence, prayer, contemplation, the Divine Guest, and the Oneness of all creation. Personal retreat can be a wonderful discipline for those seeking the life-giving empowerment that derives from the Silence. We have partnered with Still Point Mountain Retreat to be able to offer space for personal retreat for our members, whether you come as an individual, couple, family, or small group. The wilderness setting of Still Point provides the quiet and solitude necessary for an ideal personal retreat experience.

 More Retreats