A Window is Where the Wall is Absent

The life impulse to express and to connect arises in me and in all of us. This blog is a celebration of these life impulses. Please feel free to join in the conversation or to just visit. There is a Family Photo Album beneath the posts so you can "meet" my family and I. Welcome!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sound and Light

Years ago I came across two sentences and they have never left me:

"The spiritual journey," says Thomas Keating, "is not a career or success story. It is a series of  humiliations of the false self that becomes more and more profound."

The world stood on its head.  For decades I had been seeking accumulation and self-enhancement when in fact all along the deeper longing was for the very opposite: diminution of that heavy burden of an imaginary ego-self .

This morning I was watching a video of Dr.Vijai Shankar  in which he asks, "What is thought?"

               I paused to consider this.

Thought is a word, he observes.

And what is a word?

               Again, I stopped to wonder what a word actually is.

A word is a sound.

              Thought is essentially a sound vibration, whether it is uttered out loud or not.

Mind is thought.

Thought is sound.

Mind is sound.  It is a vibration, a pattern, an appearance.

There is sound (mind) and light (awareness).

There is sound and light, there is mind and awareness: these are the two indivisible dimensions or aspects of reality.

Sound is form, light is formless, and they are one.

There is sound and the light of consciousness that is aware of sound. 

Sound and light occupy the same space and are inseparable.

For much of my life attention has been circumscribed to the thought-trance, hypnotized by the sound of the mind.

Yet the light bathes everything and it has always been free.

This light feels like home, and it does not make a sound.  The light loves sound without needing to make a single sound itself.

Gratitude to Thomas Keating, quote is from his book
Gratitude to Dr. Vijai Shankar
Gratitude for photo: http://www.coosacreek.org/way/?m=200910


Leslie said...

Thank you for such another great post Colleen. Just the title is absolutely beautiful. "The light loves sound"...how sweet is that?! It does! Our Being DOES love sound :) I wonder what it is about that particular 'sense' that shows me that sameness between the 'two'...that makes it an easy doorway to Being...in to that One-ness. Touch seems to be a close 2nd...

tom sullivan said...

I like much of what you're saying here.

However, it strikes me that Dr. Shankar's remarks @ thought and words may be useful as pointers, but are quite reductionist as knowledge.

I have to go to work now, so bye for now.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie,

The light loves sound- awareness loves to be aware- whether what it "tastes" is sweet or sour. Boredom, irritability, fatigue- all these colors of mood are delicious to pure awareness...It's strange, but there is an openness behind the ego's conditioned reactivity that is quite happy to taste every wavelength of vibration- the good, the bad, and the ugly- it's all THAT to love. Touch, sound, sight, hearing, thought- they are all "sounds" or vibrations of the mind. The mind is sound. Seeing this disentangles me from it. I rest as the light of awareness that the sound vibrations pass through, I am not separate from the vibrations, but they are "ripples on the surface of being", and there is a sense of being at home as the still, vibrant light which both underlies and interpenetrates the ripples. What a place of ease and rest! Always here and unlosable...
Thanks so much for your comments Leslie- the still, vibrant light of awareness here is continuous with the still, vibrant light of awareness in your "here"- and that is sweet.


Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your comments and I'm always happy to see you here.
Now that you mention it, I can see that reducing thought and words to mere sound can be reductionistic. As a pointer though, I find the concept of thought/mind as sound to be freeing.

Hope you have a good day at work. I just received the book you recommended, "Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity". I love that title- it resonates with the Keating quote. Thanks again for the book recommendation.

zendotstudio said...

"The spiritual journey," says Thomas Keating, "is not a career or success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that becomes more and more profound."

This is a fabulous line and really rings of the truth to me!

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen,
Thank you for that beautiful answer. OMG...this morning there was this 'peace and rest':) That's pretty out-there considering. The labeling of stuff simply wasn't there. It was oddly odd (or maybe just surprising) but very nice. I really felt at the time (that was this morning :O) that anything could 'happen' and I would be fine. By not labeling there was a sweet and subtle - yet not wimpy - freedom from appearances. Or at least there was the sense of that...fearless was the feeling but still with an 'I'...although the 'I didn't much care :)
Thanks again for your beautiful answer...
Heart songs to you Colleen,
P.S. FB adds a pretty crazy dimension to life. Things are about to get even crazier. Things are looking might suspicious...I think my Teacher is lurking around here 'someplace' :)

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Zendotstudio,

I'm glad the words from Keating also struck a strong chord in you. They remind me of the title of a book I love- it is called "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" by Ayya Khema. It seems our society is pretty crazed with notions of becoming someone and getting somewhere, and the title of this deep book opened the mind to a new way of seeing. It's fine to do big things (or not) when it is a kind of byproduct of inner openness. But when grand undertakings are primarily to bloat the sense of personal specialness and importance, they generally lead to suffering.

Thanks so much for joining the conversation Carole, and I enjoy your blog as well.

Colleen Loehr said...

Fearless and label-free...ah, how wonderful Leslie. Maybe they go together - it's all that automatic labeling activity of the brain that tends to stir up fear.

It's great to see you on Facebook! There's so much to explore there and so many connections, but it definitely can seem a bit overwhelming.

It's great to look at challenges as our Teacher :) More power to you Leslie, thanks for sharing your experience.

Remember Be Here Now said...

"light bathes everything and it has always been free.
This light feels like home, and it does not make a sound" Your words settle in me to reveal more light. Beautiful post x

Colleen Loehr said...

It's a blessing to receive your comments Susanne, thank you.

Leslie said...

Dear Colleen,
LOL...been on FB for 1 day and am almost ready for a break :) Saw some wonderful, old and dear friends though. How nice.
"Fearless and label-free...ah, how wonderful Leslie. Maybe they go together - it's all that automatic labeling activity of the brain that tends to stir up fear."
Tolle just posted two weekly reminders...I love these. Here goes...they are priceless:
"Invite the opening to the new state of consciousness, instead of waiting for life to do it to you. We can voluntarily invite the opening into our lives through portals into the state of presence. All portals take you, of course, deep into Now. No matter what portal, you will end up in the Now." – Tolle 080610

"One portal into presence is what I would call the primordial spiritual practice. And that is the portal of bringing a yes into Now, which means allowing this moment to be as it is. This is a voluntary portal opening up into the transformed state of consciousness." - Tolle 080610

Invite instead of waiting for life to do it to you...There is certainly a feeling sense of urgency.

Colleen Loehr said...

Thank you Leslie for these quotes from Eckhart, they are like potent medicine to wake me from the grogginess of the thought-dream.

"Allowing is a stepping back..."

I heard these words on a CD by Eckhart while driving to work. When impatience, anxiety, tension or any kind of claustrophobia arise- they are signals of unconscious resistance to what is- and reminders to step back and allow. The stepping back reveals space, the spaciousness of acceptance.

I know what you mean about Facebook, something of a mixed blessing...

Leslie said...

Thank you for these words Colleen: "When impatience, anxiety, tension or any kind of claustrophobia arise- they are signals of unconscious resistance to what is- and reminders to step back and allow." Allow...let...relax...rest...the feeling of these all have the potential to allow for that 'falling into' or that 'stepping back'...into That which is untouched by appearances.
Getting a feeling sense of that is so important. Your words help so much.

Diane said...

Very nice. Also, I really love this picture. Did you take it yourself?

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie and Diane,

I am grateful to you both for your comments.

Diane I'm glad you like the photo. I did not take it myself, but I found it on a Centering Prayer website. If you click on the link at the bottom of the post, it will take you to the website where I found the photo.

So much sound and light here this Saturday. Blessings and all good will, Colleen

Alton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

"the still, vibrant light of awareness here is continuous with the still, vibrant light of awareness in your "here"- and that is sweet."
YES!...that is sweet :)

Colleen Loehr said...

Thanks for your comments and thanks for visiting Alton and Leslie. I have come across some photos that I'd like to share on the blog, but will have to wait for now. We are busy with Chris who had a baclofen pump inserted today, this helps people with cerebral palsy. Chris did great with the procedure and we are all in good spirits, but drained. Thanks again for visiting.

Leslie said...

Dear Colleen,
Thoughts are with you and you family obviously cradled in the Dear Hand of Spirit.

rose duncan said...

Late to the party, but a beautiful post as always.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Naomi,
It's always a joy to see you here. I am eager to visit Surviving Amelia but life has been too chaotic lately to spend much time on the net. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Leslie, I also appreciate your caring comments.

Gratitude to you both.


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