I will have been in private practice seven years as of this Thursday, December 15. I have been doing counseling for a total of eleven years, which includes time at my internship and in leading groups in mental health agencies.
I enjoy the process, seeing others come to better places, and feel my abilities to be with others in empathy and in insight, of where and who they are, and where they want to be, this all continues to make a difference.
I am also back in my hometown for my practice location, just having moved my location, happily anticipating leading group meditations in person again there and helping others in sessions within a peaceful and quiet space.
This season of transition for me seems to be letting up a bit now, so I am happy for that, for my health and my ability to help out.
Eleven as a number may be seen to be the meeting of two individuals (the upright positions of the number ones coming together).
May this season be one of more and more peace, for any and all important to you, including yourself, and the possibility of a deepening relationship with mystery, with the mystery of life and its many wonders.
During this changing of the seasons, I thought it appropriate to share a letter from long ago, from a sannyasin or monk of the Ramakrishna Order to a student in California.
Letter excerpted from the book, Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda (edited by Swami Chetanananda).
I hope you enjoy, and enjoy the season.
17 February 1914
The life of renunciation is the only life that can make us truly happy. No other life can ever do so. It is certain that one day we shall have to give up everything whether we want to or not. It is much better to give it up gladly and freely before we are compelled to do so. But if one cannot do that, the next best course is to turn everything over to Mother and abide by her decree. Know her to be the only guide in life under all conditions. Pleasure and pain pass away. They do not last long. We gather knowledge through experience; and by not identifying ourselves with pain or pleasure we gain freedom. Be always content with what Mother ordains. She knows what is best for us. Such a life also brings peace and consolation; and then the world can do us no harm.
You are Mother's children; you need not be afraid of the world. Be devoted to her and she will take care of you. She alone is Real. All else is vanity and vexation. Did not Jesus say, 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose is own soul?' Mother is the Soul of our souls. If we have her we no longer care much for the things of this world.
The world goes on its way and will continue to do so for all eternity. But he who sees Mother in everything and knows for certain that it is all her play will have rest for his soul and peace within. May we see her hand and guidance in everything. May she bless us.
Yours in the Mother,
Although I had originally intended this blog post to be a recurring one which I would update as the global virus continued to make its impact on the world, I have decided I do not want to continue updating it like that, which would make it always be the entry on top of all others.
I realize in addition to what I've shared below that the fear generated by the virus has had some impact on my life and approach to living it.
In the spirit of enjoying the spring more now, being informed about the goings-on of the world, but not letting specific information about it influence me as it has, I am just going to share my thoughts below as a single blog post, complete unto itself.
Without updating it further, here are my initial thoughts.
I see what is happening as a doorway to true knowledge.
What do I mean by true knowledge? I mean that by which we know all other knowledge. I mean that by which the world shimmers and shines in a way which does not posses us, with craving, with need, with lack, with desire, with anything that grabs hold and becomes a tyrant of need in itself, needing to be fed, or nurtured, or placated, or given energy to, other than just allowing it to be itself, seen as the background of all we experience, seen as the other side of the doorway which has been opened, and continues to be open wider for us, for the time being.
The virus and its fears, which we find hard not to feed, become an opportunity to let go, as we try and cling to previous notions and ways of being, which may ultimately have not been serving us. We find, with perhaps not much effort at all, a way to glimpse what it is like to not have so many complications or created ideas, of what to do, of what we need to do, of what we think we need to do, so many notions.
The doorway becomes a relief from modern life, a relief from the struggles and efforts that may have ultimately been in vain, or perhaps truly are when seen in the light of how life unfolds and ultimately ends.
What really becomes important to you? What do you see as the doorway opens and ways and thoughts of being and living come to an end, if mostly only temporarily now?
What opportunity do you have which may not be so open again, to tap into a more clear and less troubled way, of peace, within peace, dipped in peace, the stillness of this night, from hustle and bustle, of busyness and all its ways.
What opportunity just waits there, coolly waiting, warmly waiting, to touch your face, reach your hand, perhaps embrace your soul, and let you feel a different way of living?
The doorway awaits you right there.
Truly living life.
Step in, and you'll see.
Sitting where I usually sit to do a certain meditation every now and then, I spied two cardinals out the back window on a slanted beam of the deck. They seemed to be playfully with one another, one of them seemingly feeding or pecking into the mouth of the other.
Standing up to confirm whether it was a couple, as in mating or mated birds, I did indeed see the colored male cardinal, and the more neutral-colored female cardinal.
In this meditation, I always hope to, and usually do in some way, uncover that sense of connection to what I believe in about life, what I know of it, a spirit of life that nourishes, contains a true peace, feels full of possibility, and has an exchange of love with me in all of these areas.
I did begin to feel this just as the two cardinals alighted on the beam.
I thought this fitting, as I confirmed it was a playful couple, and was smiling as I intuited a sense about this: whenever we are just relaxed and enjoying our connection to life, feeling a love about it, this is not unlike a subtle but present feeling of a give-and-take, a subtle exchange between the universe and ourselves, between life and who we are.
Everything became or was all right in those moments.
That is what I hope from the meditation each time.
That is what I hope for you, for each of us.
We can find our moments of relaxed peace and love.
As summer starts heading into fall, maybe we can start to thoughtfully set some time aside to allow these moments to happen.
As winter approaches, it may feel good to stretch into this time of year, lean into it, feel its quietness, solitude, and peacefulness, such peace.
I encourage you to find solace in the silence, make that happen for yourself this time of year.
I am including many inspirational quotations about silence below.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Silence is the universal refuge....
~Henry David Thoreau
Accustomed to the veneer of noise ... society is suspicious of those who value silence.
I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
Silence is a fence around wisdom.
Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.
Silence is medication for sorrow.
Silence was never written down.
Silence is exhilarating at first - as noise is - but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.
Nature and silence go better together.
You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind.
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.
Silence is more musical than any song.
Nothing is more useful than silence.
~Menander of Athens
Silence is a sounding thing, to one who listens hungrily.
Silence is the mother of truth.
Her hearing was keener than his, and she heard silences he was unaware of.
We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence.
Silence is the secret to sanity.
There are times when silence has the loudest voice.
Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.
~Margaret Lee Runbeck
Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mark Newlon. For most of my life I have related to the gentle peace of moonlight. I hope to share some of that energy here.
© Mark Newlon 2023.
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