The ‘Winter’ of ourselves
What a year it has been! As I write this on 9th November ~ a momentous day for America, and the world perhaps, with the election of the 45th President of the United States, Donald John Trump. Of course this year the UK voted to leave the EU following a referendum on 23rd June. To say the least, both events have caused a good deal of consternation and excitement and the results on both counts were something of a surprise to many. Amidst the apparent turmoil and, for many alarm, we know that it is more imperative than ever that we enter that Still Point ~ the Divine Presence ~ and in That gain our bearings and perspective. Tremendous opportunities for change and transformation await us! The zeitgeist is changing and we must flow with it.
The theme of this issue ‘Be Still and Know…’ comes originally from Psalm 46, v.10 and the full words are: ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’. This leads to the highest bliss.
At this time of year nature is disrobing and its stark reality is being revealed without frill or frippery. The beautiful attire of leaf, flower and fruit fall away and nothing can hide ~ all is laid bare. Gone is the daffodil trumpet of Spring, gone is the perfume of Summer roses in the breeze; gone is the mellow technicolour of rich Autumn raiment. Come are the cold winds, the short days, the long nights, the apparent barrenness of Winter. All around there is a palpable stillness and silence.
If you pass a beam of white light through a prism, the light splits into the colours of the rainbow. At the beginning of the year we start, as it were, with a blank white sheet. The events, the insights the experiences of the year, are yet to come; each is like a colour, ready to spill out on to a pristine canvas. At the end of the year, and microcosmically, at the end of each day, it is time to take the colours back into the stillness and calm of the white light. The ‘shape’ of the experiences and their detail may fall away, but through meditation and reflection, we can gather up within ourselves the gist of those experiences and distil a crop of wisdom every bit as plentiful as this year’s apple crop.
Entering into the Winter of ourselves where the soft light nurtures us and we are left alone to digest all that happened this year, I cannot help but think of that stable into which the Christ Light was born. This too was devoid of all the trappings of the world; it was silent – lit only by stars – and symbolises for us perhaps, a place of tremendous humility. The Light is only born into the humble heart, a heart free in the flow of unconditional love and to the soul who has understood that one by one words are left behind so that ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’ becomes, ‘Be still and Know that I am’ and then, ‘Be Still and Know’, and then ‘Be’. Just like all nature, it is time for us to uncloak and to take the experiences of the year into the ‘stable’ with us. It is ‘here’ that the stillness will heal us and the naked Presence will remind us of who we are.
From this unadorned interior, I extend a warm hand to greet you. May the joys of the Festive season be ever yours.
Bosham House News
Many of you will know that James Ashby has been Chairman of the Trustees for some years. At a recent meeting of the Trustees, James stood down as Chairman but will continue to remain fully involved as a Trustee and Manager of the Lodge Project. James not only initiated the Lodge Project but has been its Project Manager throughout. He has spent many months this year at The Hamblin Centre orchestrating the Project, commissioning all sorts of expert advice and ordering materials. He is often to be found under a lodge adjusting a skirting board or banging in a nail. We are indebted to James for all he has done and is doing.
We now welcome Noel Raine as Chairman of the Trustees. Noel has been a Trustee of The Hamblin Trust for some years. His unstinting work on the Lodges has pushed the Project forward and kept it on track. Noel has run the Lightworkers Group at the Hamblin Centre for five years and has strong administrative and business accountancy skills as well as the gift of sharing with others.
Save the date! Friday 21st April & Saturday 22nd April: Announcing our first day and a half seminar with James Ashby, Noel Raine and special guest, Dr Sam Watts: Quantum Medicine and Esoteric Christianity
We hope you will find something to interest you in the enclosed Programme of Events. We are pleased to announce that we are running our very first day and a half seminar on the subject of Quantum Medicine and Esoteric Christianity. This will be a ground breaking seminar illuminating the parallels between the messages of Quantum Medicine and Esoteric Christianity. This event includes a delicious lunch prepared by a wholefood cook, Holly Watts. Full details are in the programme and we look forward to welcoming you to this very special event.
If you do not find a programme of events with this issue and you would like one, do please telephone the office.
The Lodge Project Fund ~ showing our appreciation: 10% discount off lodge bookings
Since the Lodge Project was launched we have received from you and two granting making bodies, a massive £55,920. We would like to thank you sincerely for your generosity and we pray that this may be returned to you many times over. Your donations, in all shapes and sizes, continue to be welcome so that we can realise phase 2 of this Project ~ a further three lodges. With the help of Providence, this will ensure the future of The Hamblin Trust.
In order to show our appreciation we wish to make available to any member booking a lodge a 10% discount.
We are pleased to report that the lodges are being rented on a regular basis and we have had some wonderful comments. You can see these for yourself on the ‘testimonials’ section of our website: www.boshamretreats.co.uk
The lodges look resplendent in their emerald green woodland setting. In the Autumn the Hamblin team were out laying turf around each lodge and Sue Attridge, our lovely gardener, has been planting shrubs around the lodges. These include: Nandina Domestica, Elaeagnus ‘Maculata’ and Viburnum ‘Eve Price’.
The whole team have worked tirelessly to complete the Project and get it up and running. We would also like to extend a warm welcome to Lindsey Clark who is now helping us to look after the woodland around the lodges and doing some creative gardening.
John Meriton & Friends – an evening of acoustic folk
On Saturday 15 October Hamblin Hall was alive with the ‘sound of music’. John Meriton and friends, John and Ian, and gifted daughter, Sophie, came to play and sing acoustic folk music. Each song was unique and reflected a strong sense of loving life in the moment. Small tables were set up in the hall and pizza and delicious snacks were served. Our thanks to Kathryn Bingham who contacted John and organised tablecloths, pizza and beer! Thanks too to Sharon Hempsell for all her help on the evening. We very much hope to welcome John and his friends back to Bosham House.
We continue to welcome your letters and emails. If you have a comment
on an article or a suggestion to make, why not share your views with
others. Please write to the editor at Bosham House, Main Road, Bosham,
West Sussex PO18 8PJ or email email@example.com
I am so grateful to The Hamblin Trust for making Hamblin’s teachings so accessible. He has been such a big part of my learning and healing. He is also a lovely balance to my yoga learning which I find so practical and helpful for body and mind. (I love the video of the Swami visiting Hamblin.)
It was lovely to visit Bosham House and to ‘feel’ the place for myself. Even though I can’t come regularly I always look forward to the magazine and I it makes me feel part of a wider community. Many thanks.
Geraldine Roberts, Hereford
My stay in the lodge for the past two weeks made me feel like Peter James and John when Jesus took them to Mount Tabor where he was transfigured before them.
Thank you all for welcoming me to The Hamblin Trust and to the lodge. Thank you too for taking me to the final resting place of the Hamblin family. I am also grateful for the spiritual enlightenment, rest and recollections I had during my stay. Thank you all for your humility ~ Patrons, Trustees and the entire friendly and wonderful staff.
May God continue to endow you with all the grace and the necessary support to continue your good work here. God bless you all.
Paul Ogubunka, Nigeria
Just to say how lovely to see the new lodge right on the front page and on inside back page. It looks delightful. Congratulations on its opening. If I should be so lucky as to visit England again, I would love to stay there.
Thanks for my Autumn issue of New Vision, a magazine I look forward to with joy and which keeps me in touch with my beloved Bosham House and friends.
With warm wishes,
Josephine Chia, Singapore
Be Still and Declutter… by Martha Lyn
Martha enjoys the clear air and fresh breezes of the West Coast of Scotland. She enjoys playing the fiddle and finds the atmosphere in Scotland conducive to thinking and writing.
Your room is full of clutter, your house is full of clutter, your head is full of clutter, your soul is full of clutter, your life is full of clutter, the town is full of clutter; illegal dumping fills the countryside with clutter, the earth is full of clutter, the ocean choked with plastic…and space is even cluttered too. How imperative it is to ‘de-clutter’… But where to start?
Form a strong intention: stop cluttering. Then just stop. Sit still. Centre and unite with Height and Depth. Be still, strongly still, unbudgeably still, and wait, with promise, and positivity, wait, and watch, yes watch a wee plan begin to form by itself… sure and certain and gradually emerging in full clarity. Clear the mind, cleanse the consciousness, focus the heart, and pour love over all, until the will can zoom into action, and what to do becomes self-evident and crystal clear.
Declutter outwardly and inwardly at the same time, the one action stimulating and impelling the other. Begin with the outward, then with the next breath, begin from the innermost, tidy, clean dust wash, let these thoughts and aspirations flow through your actions, until you can dance from space into space, from there to here again, spinning and leaping through the self-formed barriers in the mind to realise how they are reflected in your outer circumstances.
Be Still And Know by James Ashby
James is a trustee of the Hamblin Trust and initiated the Lodge Project. His studies of Jesus’ teachings and of early Christianity led him to realise that the churches have generally not considered the time as right yet for the promulgation of the esoteric, essentially personal aspect of Jesus' teachings, while most people are now ready, if not yearning for, that level understanding.
‘Still! Know I God’. This is how the injunction was almost certainly written in the original Hebrew Bible. For in Hebrew and Aramaic the verb To Be was assumed, not spoken or written. We know it better as ‘Be still and know that I am God’, as this is how it was translated into Greek in the version of our Bible, known as the Alexandrian Septuagint. The earliest copies we have of the Bible are in that Greek version, as the original Hebrew Masoretic texts were largely lost over the centuries.
When we look back to the story of Moses and the Burning Bush, we may remember that Moses asked God to tell him His name, asking him ‘Who are you?’ And the reply came back ‘I am that I am. Tell them (the Israelites in the valley below) that I Am has sent you.’ Yet, taking out the verb ‘To Be’ from these statements leaves a choice as to their real meaning. The answer to who God is becomes ‘I that I’. It is essential that the ‘Am’ is inserted to make any sense at all. Put in once it becomes ‘I Am That I’. To me this is God saying: ‘I am the 'I' within you’, or to paraphrase: ‘I am that deepest part of your personal self.’
Unravelling a Mystery by elizabeth Medler
If you enjoy unravelling mysteries, Under the Guise of Spring ~ The message hidden in Botticelli's Primavera is for you. Join me now for a sneek preview...
'As a casual visitor, I walked briskly along the banks of the Arno, wrapped up against a biting wind and motivated by the prospect of an eventual glass of good Tuscan red. I walked not far from where Botticelli lived and worked and along the narrow streets retracing the footsteps of Verrocchio and Michelangelo...I entered the Uffizi Gallery, anxious to have a better understanding of the renaissance and what exactly was 're-born' in those violent but inspiring times. I took the elevator to the Leonardo and Botticelli rooms where a scattering of other die-hard tourists drifted from picture to picture. Nobody was standing in front of the famous Primavera. Fascinated by the idea that behind its beauty lay some unfathomable meaning, I settled down to absorb its mood...'
So begins Eugene Lane-Spollen’s book which brings the rich landscape of Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera to life. Even if you are not normally drawn to books exploring the symbolism of art, you will be richly rewarded if you read this book. The thoughts and words expressed in it are not only inspiring and illuminating, but match the breadth and depth of the masterpiece itself. If Botticelli could paint a book, this might be it!
Having no education in the expressive arts or art symbolism, in truth I felt somewhat daunted by how best to approach this book. I need not have worried as the Italian scholar and philosopher, Marsilio Ficino (whose work clearly influenced Botticelli) came to my aid… “Gazing on and thinking about something creates an image and a connection with it, and the soul’s loving and knowing it bonds with it, seeking union and fulfilment. This is the act of contemplation leading to transcendence.”
And so we come closer to an understanding of the Primavera by ‘living’ for a time with the painting and the book and contemplating the very beautiful Ideas behind Botticelli’s work. In this the soul imitates the Gods by remaining in herself, and contemplating through herself, the poetry and symbolism of the painting. As we penetrate deeper into the painting, we penetrate deeper into ourselves. The two processes are really synchronous. In other words we can use this painting to facilitate our development and the work of art which is our own lives in the making. In this way we can create our own masterpieces!
Be Still my Soul by Chris Sangster
Chris now lives in Liss, near Petersfield, Hampshire, having previously experienced growing feelings of stillness and enlightenment in mysterious Wiltshire and the remote but beautiful Highlands of Scotland. He has written several books on personal development and is currently involved in the creative and therapeutic applications of sound.
Death seems to me to be one of the supreme areas for being still and knowing. For some – many even – it is considered as the most fearful and stressful state of all. It’s even generally rated as being more stressful than moving house! But this is perhaps encapsulated in the expectation rather than the reality. I have been personally present during the period of death of several close relatives and these experiences have been universally ones of peace and stillness of the mind. It is fair to say that much of any physical pain associated with those final moments had been alleviated by morphine – allowing this stillness of mind and soul to prevail. In his final awareness, my father expressed an excited wonderment at what he was experiencing, while my mother-in-law, whose fear of the unknown had been previously reduced through a chat about afterlife expectations, drifted into death very peacefully. My mother, sadly, died in hospital, literally ‘giving up the ghost’ the day before. My wife and I spent her final day in the stillness of our home, embracing and talking periodically as she drifted in and out of consciousness, fully aware that death was approaching. We were both strongly cognizant of the expected processes of entering the afterlife and future reincarnations, so a general stillness prevailed, underpinned by this knowledge.
Death is of course only one aspect of ‘being still and knowing’ but, as a thought uppermost in many minds, it bears positive consideration.
Visualise a sliding volume control within you. As you reduce it to near zero, feel yourself come to a point of stillness.
Completing the Circle by Jane Pittsinger
Jane, originally from the UK, lives in Half Moon Bay, CA. She is a Physical Therapist and Rosen Method Bodywork practitioner with a deep interest in the universal principles substanding the universe and all human activity.
I live by a creek which, if you follow it upstream, flows through a forest of redwood trees. This creek or stream is full of wisdom. I say this because I learn from it each time I walk along its banks. It is always present, even in very dry periods and I have been told that in the last hundred years, at least, it has never been known to dry up.
I have come to know it (and to think of the stream as ‘she’) through several seasons, though here in coastal California there is not a great difference between one season and another. The seasons are most marked by the presence or absence of rain or whether in the summer there is fog or sunshine.
Over the last two years the stream has been my companion through several life-transitions. When thoughts and uncertainties course through my mind, I stop and observe the creek. It is always making a sound but I do not always hear it. The clamouring of my own thoughts can drown it. When people are around, it is as if their presence dominates the gentleness, the ever-present gurgling of her movement. Humans can be loud and demanding, not seeing or hearing the beauty of their surroundings, chatting amongst themselves, turned towards their own concerns. Yet, I know that they drive a distance to come here, to walk among the trees by the stream also. On a certain level of consciousness, the people know that here are hidden treasures unlike the city of man-made objects.
How Much Can We Know? by Rosemary Wilkie
Many years ago, I ran to a teacher complaining: 'I've tried so hard to just be, but it doesn't work - what should I do?' The teacher burst out laughing and I understood how not to just be.
I learned that there is a centre of stillness within each of us, and that to find it and overcome the distractions, fears and turmoil in the world, we first have to create a thought form, or choose an inspired Word of God as Thomas Hamblin suggests, to detach ourselves from emotional distress and minds running out of control.
The best exercise I know for stilling body, emotions and mind, and raising one's consciousness to soul level is one psychosynthesis students will recognise.
Say to oneself:
I have a body but I am not my body
I have feelings but I am not my feelings
I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts
I am a centre of pure consciousness.
And then visualise a stream of pure white light pouring down through your Soul into all your vehicles, cleansing away all that hinders. At first you may have to visualise this many times, but with practice once will suffice and you will enter into quietness and realise that nothing can truly harm us.
In the Stillness by Paul Janke
strong>Paul is a homoeopath, natural health practitioner and spiritual mentor living in beautiful, rural Herefordshire. He seeks to live from his own inner Divinity and assist others in doing likewise.
Many years go a Jehovah's Witness knocked on my door and began by asking me my thoughts about God. My immediate, intuitive response was to say, ‘My God is Love, my temple is my heart and my religion is my life’. At the time I had no idea where those words came from, they just poured from my mouth without me even having to think. I was just as surprised as my visitor at my utterance because I was certainly not religious in any way, shape or form. I was very interested in philosophy and the various religions of the world, though I was not aligned with any of them. I have since come to understand that those words where truly inspired, springing from my inner divinity and, what’s more, they have become absolutely true for me. It is as if I have grown into that statement I made all those years ago and I am so grateful that I did!
When I hear or read the words ‘Be still and know…’, my mind automatically finishes the phrase off with ‘that I am Love’. I am aware that this is not the proper, biblical version but I like this ending, it sits more comfortably with me and has a wonderful way of consciously connecting me with the ‘indwelling Lord’ as HTH puts it. When I calm myself and rest in the stillness, especially during meditation, saying this phrase inwardly helps put me in touch with the truth of who I am, which is love. Recognising that I am love leads me to recognising that everyone andeverything is love; it makes me feel a tremendous unity with all of mankind, the animal and plant kingdoms and Gaia herself. For me, this sense of unity is accompanied by the ‘Peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ of which the Bible speaks and is truly a blissful state in which to be.
Prayerful Mindfulness by Stephen Russell-Lacy
Stephen tutors distant learners for the Swedenborg Open Learning Centre. He also edits the internet magazine spiritualquestions.org.uk
I was on holiday in the French Vendėe looking for peace and calm. The family had caught the ferry and located the camp site. And now on a lovely day without a cloud in the sky, I shouldn’t have had a care in the world. My daughter passed by and said: ‘Oh Dad, you look relaxed’.
Outwardly I probably did – she’s not used to seeing me lazing in shorts and tee shirt. But inwardly, I was still bothered about not finding the best shady spot away from the hot sun. I was focusing on other minor inconveniences, such as sand in the tent, the grandchildren squabbling in the background, and not immediately finding that wretched bottle opener for a refreshing bottle of beer.
I know that finding inner calm should be less difficult when you are on holiday. But how do we achieve this in ordinary life at home and at work? How does one find peace and calm in times of bother and responsibility?
Mindfulness and calm
Therapists, as well as spiritual teachers, all say to experience a state of emotional calm one must be in a receptive state and this means learning a little self-discipline. So I try to take an attitude of mindfulness: focusing my awareness on the present moment, while calmly observing my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. I'm told this discipline enables one to take an emotional step back from what is going on around oneself.
For me it also means trying to be receptive to what I believe to be an available in-flowing spirit of calm and contentment. I’ve discovered that this level of consciousness replaces thoughts that dwell on minor irritants; it raises the mind above whims that would otherwise come flitting into the head, and prevents us from spiraling down when confronted by each new sense of frustration.
Take Heart by Dinah Lawson
Dinah is a teacher and practitioner of Subtle Energy Healing and of meditation. She runs The Hayloft, a centre for healing and meditation, in Emsworth.
My inner search has led me to spiritual philosophy, meditation and healing, all of which brought me to focus on the importance of heart. In my early exploration many of the books I was reading referred to meditation. I tried various meditation exercises, but it was not until I read a book by ‘White Eagle’ that the process became ‘alive’. In this book he suggested focussing on the heart area, visualising a rose placed there and watching it slowly open. I followed these instructions and felt an immediate and beneficial effect. Much later I found Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis, suggesting a similar meditation called simply ‘The Rose’.
I have heard many speakers, read many books and experienced many groups, all related to the subject of meditation, and have come to understand the importance of heart focussing or centering, both in meditation and also in my work as a practitioner and teacher of Subtle Energy Healing.
The Clarity of Stillness by Josephine Chia
Josephine is a writer and yoga teacher and is author of ‘Your Body Gateway to the Divine’ and ‘Body and Mind Sculpture: Shape Up for Self Discovery.’ Both books are published in the UK.
A mountain lake can reflect the beauty of its deep waters only when its surface is smooth and unruffled. As soon as the wind picks up, or a pebble is thrown in or waders are coursing through the water, it serenity is disturbed. Ripples and waves are formed. Many wise teachers have used this imagery as a metaphor for the mind that suffers the ravages of the external conditions which obscures the beauty of our Divine nature. Whether we call this element of ourselves our soul or our higher Self or some other name, it is this inner aspect of our being that is connected to the Divine, although of course we may not be aware of it consciously.
In order to awaken this capacity which will permit us to realise the Divine, we have to learn to still the mind. Many major religions and teachings like Tai Chi and yoga offer techniques to halt the continuous marching of our thoughts so that there is a gap of silence or ‘no-thought’ window through which the wisdom of the Divine can penetrate to our consciousness.
Gardening Matters by Sue Attridge
Although I hate to waste a good plant, there are times when I can summon up enough ruthlessness to dig up and dispose of a shrub that probably would tick over for several more years but which is way past its best and contributing little, if anything, to the aesthetic appeal of the garden. As part of my reworking of the two ‘hot’ (red, orange and yellow) beds in front of the offices, I’ve taken out a Philadelphus (Mock Orange Blossom) from each of them. Not only were they world weary, their flowers were white. Had they been stand alone shrubs, I might have hard pruned them into rejuvenation over two or three years; but in a bed dominated by herbaceous perennials an underperforming shrub is not an asset. I also relocated to the retreat lodge area three Nandina domestica shrubs, which I had planted in those beds before I’d fully thought through the colour scheme.
In place of the Philadelphus, I’ve planted in one of the beds a Fremontodendron californicum, which has large yellow flowers throughout the summer, and to my mind is a much more attractive shrub than the ubiquitous Hypericum, also yellow flowered. In the other bed, I’ve relocated the rose ‘Golden Celebration’, which had been overshadowed by tall Veronica, Verbena bonariensis and Symphyotrichum (formerly Aster), which I still call Michaelmas Daisy.
Writing this in October, I have yet to plant the tulip bulbs I’ve bought for the tubs. I spent much of September drooling over the luscious photos in bulb catalogues, especially Sarah Raven’s. She has a wonderful eye for colour combinations. I expect I’ll refer back to them during wet winter days to keep my spirits up until the first snowdrops peep through.
The Diary of a Vet
Medicine: ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’
by Suzannah Stacey, BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS, Cert.Vet.Acu (ABVA)
As we head towards the wintertime, in the last few months I have had two very caring people come to see me about a persistent lameness in their dogs. Both dogs had a similar diagnosis, of a tumour growing in the bone of one leg. Both are large breed, heavy dogs; one an Irish wolfhound, the other a large boxer, both of a similar age – middle aged rather than old. The interesting thing about life is how two different people facing identical problems came to very different solutions as to how to react to this news. On the one hand, one elected for no treatment bar good pain management, which is where I came in, and the dog lived with the progression of the disease for many months prior to being put to sleep when the medication, acupuncture and hydrotherapy given was no longer adequate to ensure he was having a good quality of life.
The other lady chose surgery, and decided to have the affected leg amputated, as she felt her dog was still very much enjoying life and would be bright and cheerful once free of the tumour that was hurting her. In days gone by, this would not have been offered to a large breed dog, as it was considered too much to ask for them to adapt to having only three legs when weighing in excess of 40 Kg. Nowadays, this rule seems to be obsolete, and the surgeon was very happy to operate, in the hope it will give this lively dog a few more years of good quality life with her owner and her housemates.
So, as the vet treating both cases with a view to reducing pain and suffering, which person made the right call? My point is that in medicine so often there are no rights or wrongs in these situations. Each owner and each dog will have a solution that is right for them and which doesn’t necessarily hop off the pages of a text book. You have to trust that each owner knows their dog, and will instinctively know what the right way forward might be, given their unique situation. It is impossible to have a way of knowing which option is going to work best in the days to come, and I am sure we all live with having made decisions which, with hindsight we regret, but as long as you are tuning in to your true feelings on the matter, I think it is unlikely you will make the wrong call.
It is a familiar saying, that medicine is not an exact science, and all too often this is so very true, frustrating though it may be. That is the time to trust in your instincts when deciding what to do next, and then stick with your decision, whatever the future brings, knowing you did the very best you could at the time. It may not be perfect, but it is the only option we have. Sometimes there is no such thing as a right or wrong answer to a medical conundrum, there are simply choices to be made.
The Importance of Silence by Peter Ellison
Peter is a busy commercial solicitor who has struggled to find his silence
We live in a world of noise. Silence appears to be abhorred by the modern Western world as if there was something wrong with silence. Yet how many people crave it. Why is this so? We all need silence to face ourselves, our realities and ultimately our walk through life. Society today requires instant and constant communication. We have grown to expect immediate answers to questions posed. No time is allowed. Privacy, time and quiet are no longer acceptable.
If you go out to eat at a restaurant invariably there is music being played in the background. Restaurants believe that they need to provide music to keep customers happy and calm as they wait, sometimes impatiently, to place an order or for their order to be placed before them. As important to the human soul as music is, we do not need it all the time. To have to listen to music constantly not only damages the silence but also damages the value of the music. If you walk along a street today, some people have earphones and many will be talking into their phones. We have become a generation which eschews silence or rather appears to. The modern culture has a fear of silence. We can, through the need for entertainment, lose the beauty of silence and its essential quality in our lives.
Who has not stood outside on a star-lit night and appreciated the stillness, the quiet and the grandeur of an apparent silent universe. Of course the universe is not silent. It is in reality alive with what the ancients called ‘The Music of the Spheres’ ~ the continuous song of the heavenly bodies. Yet to us, as we look up, and drink in its vastness, it can seem silent. As Simon and Garfunkel sang, there are the sounds of silence. There is always sound and everywhere, even in the quietest location, a background decibel level of sound.
The Wise Silence by Jan Walker
Within man is the soul of the whole;
Jan is an artist and author living in the foothills of the Sierra mountain range of Northern California. She teaches Chinese brush painting and studies Native American arts at Paradise Art Center. She is loving retirement!
the wise silence,
the universal beauty, to which
every part and particle
is equally related; the eternal One.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Contemplating any one aspect of a wholeness does not exclude any other aspect. Wholeness does not fuse moments together, nor is it symbolic. It requires one thing of us: stillness—a particular kind of silence. It is most akin to the Chinese Tao, in the sense that one moment does not exclude another. Wholeness is present everywhere at one and the same time, equally, every moment. Words, however, like images, are definite, reducing the infinite to the finite, limiting our awareness of time, of nature, of ourselves. So, to truly know Emerson’s soul of the whole
and express it in words, timeless and silent as it is, may lead down some unexpected pathways.
Emerson gives three qualities to the soul of the whole, which are a wise silence, universal beauty, and the equal interrelationship of every part within the whole. To achieve the ‘wise silence’ we may step back from the chaos of our environment and begin to enter into the realm of Ideas, of inner vision and blessed contemplation to reveal the gifts of the invisible present moments that slip by in the distractions of our lives.
This idea of the wise silence is of special interest. Inner time is spacious, lively, yet fully receptive. Lost in contemplation, in the art of painting or gardening or prayer, falling into the spaces between objects, it’s impossible to determine or to examine time passing. Silence releases the inspiration that comes from the eternal Wisdom revealed in nature, in ideas, in love. How often do we find ourselves in some beautiful spot, and suddenly find that an hour has passed and the observer disappears, taken fully into the soul which is timeless.
Each issue of New Vision also features a good book reviews section.
If you have enjoyed these excerpts, please telephone/email Bosham
House for a full copy of the magazine. This is available through membership
or by donation.
Tel. 01243 572109 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Vision is published quarterly by The Hamblin Vision, the publishing
arm of The Hamblin Trust and is sent to all members of the Trust.
It is edited by Elizabeth Medler, shown on the left.