The Uses of A Quiet Mind

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Tilopa says:

At first the Yogi feels his mind

Is tumbling like a waterfall:

In mid-course, like the Ganges,

It flows on slow and gentle;

In the end, it is a great

Vast ocean, where the Lights

Of son and mother merge as one

Rob Preece, The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra


“Who can free himself from achievement
And from fame, descend and be lost
Amid the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen,
He will go about like Life itself
With no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, has no reputation.
Since he judges no one
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.”

~Thomas Merton


“Sometimes we act in order not to see.”
― James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology


“Compassionate loving kindness for other people, that’s how we forgive ourselves, that’s how we open our own hearts. We’re not doing it for someone else, but starting to think about other people and the pain that they’re in and the suffering that they’re living with, which underlies their own actions, that’s something that happens from within, it’s not something you do to another person.” — Krishna Das


In Tantra, the distinction of energy in its defiled or purified state is not seen as a split between good and evil, but between ignorance and wisdom…but as these energies are freed from this defiled state, their innate quality is released — a bliss that is full of deep peace and love. — Rob Preece, The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra

Some cultures make a point of teaching its members how to be human. Reaching a state of emptiness is the issue. We in the West live on the surface of our minds, never reaching the quiet depths. We live in a culture that hopes to find meaning on the busy surface of life.

We are taught to keep our extroverted eyes fixed on the myriad details of life and then we wonder why life seems meaningless. There are discoveries to be made only when we slow down and get quiet. That’s when we begin to experience the connectivity of life.

If we would collaborate with the life force, we must proceed not from concepts and principles, but direct experience of how everything is related. Love is always involved at that level.

Not knowing that in our bones sets us adrift. We live in a neurotic, deracinated culture. We can’t find our roots. Our individual task to find our path is made harder because we have to work at cross purposes with our cultural vision of things. Finding our way means finding like minded people, but we can’t imitate them. We are charged with forging our own unique path.

We now live at a fraught moment in the story of human beings. The civilization that we have built is in question. The way forward is in doubt. Deep insight is needed in order to correct our course and deep insight is in short supply. Our business and political leaders are mostly clueless. They’ll happily lead us into a swamp we’ll never get out of. That much is proven every day.

We’re on our own. Those of us who can must find a way into the region of deep insight and wisdom of the heart, and then give voice to it. However we can, we must put our hands to the wheel of world renewal, starting with ourselves.

The avatars we need are us. The revolution starts at home.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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