Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Silence is the Cornerstone

This afternoon provided another opportunity for an anticipatory T'ai Chi Chih practice. Wind blew all day but it was this evening when it felt as though rain would soon arrive. Nope ... it's still not here.

I practiced TCC this evening amid the whoosh and swoosh of breezes, leaves, and chicken wings rising and falling. (Two of the chickens kept flying up into the planter outside the kitchen window, then down again.) My world was awash with busy breezes at the same time that I experienced the sounds of silence that lived within the passing wind.

I was reminded of this passage from The Wisdom of the Native Americans:
     We first Americans mingle with our pride an exceptional humility. Spiritual arrogance is foreign to our nature and teaching. We never claimed that the power of articulate speech is proof of superiority over 'dumb creation'; on the other hand, it is to us a perilous gift.
     We believe profoundly in silence--the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. Those who can preserve their selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence--not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the shining pool--those, in the mind of the person of nature, possess the ideal attitude and conduct of life.
     If you ask us, 'What is silence?' we will answer, 'It is the Great Mystery. The holy silence is God's voice.'
     If you ask, 'What are the fruits of silence?' we will answer they are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.' (p. 87)
Yes, as though of us who practice T'ai Chi Chih regularly can attest: Silence is the cornerstone of character.

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