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Friday, November 12, 2010

Why read or write about 'the truth'?

I used to be pretty convinced about the futility, sometimes even the danger, of reading too much about 'the truth about who we are, about God' and all. Futility, because it can be a waste of time and may not add too much value. Danger, because it can become, what they call, intellectual masturbation, and by that become an escape from 'actual practice'! But reading the following powerful lines in the foreword to the book 'Meister Eckhart, from whom God hid nothing' has made me feel differently about it!

"The heart of all ritual is stillness; the heart of all teaching is silence. The mystics of every tradition know this and keep telling us that "those who speak do not know, and those who know do not speak." Yet those same mystics write volumes and volumes. The language of mystics, however, explodes ordinary language. What is left, after that, is silence, a silence that unites.

Language is meant to build bridges. Yet, how often language divides. It divides when we get stuck in concepts and abstractions, alienated from experience. It is a dreadful thing when this happens to religious language, yet it tends to happen in every tradition. This is why we need the language of mystics to blow to pieces the conceptual walls that divide us - long enough for us to get in touch again with that silent ground of our unity in experience. Once we are grounded in silence, conceptual thinking too, will regain its proper function. No longer will concepts be bars of a mental prison, but rather the bars of a musical score - for a music of silence."

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