December 2001
Inner Silence

In the time of darkness there is the rebirth of light. The winter solstice comes. The nights grow longer. The light waits to be reborn. The solstice time that approaches, that encompasses the whole month of December, is a time when one can experience the depth and power of inner silence. That inner silence becomes increasingly important as a guide in a world full of noise.

There are many loud voices in the world. There are many harsh voices, voices of fear and anger. From the depths of inner silence one finds one's voice of hope, faith, love and clarity. It's not easy. It is possible.
In prayer, in mediation, in nature, one encounters the inner stillness. It may last only a moment. It may be engulfed by the noise of the world or the noise of one's mind. It still matters to have that moment, that still moment when suddenly everything is at peace, just for one breath, just for one moment.

As people allow themselves to experience those single moments, those breaths of peace, they add up. They add up in your own experience, they add up in world's energy. Never fear that one moment of peace is not enough. It matters.

There is a story from the Buddhist tradition about a little parrot in a great forest. This small and beautiful parrot lived in a great and beautiful forest. One day the forest began to burn. The fire went out of control and the animals fled in fear. The fire threatened to engulf the entire forest. The little parrot circled helplessly above the fire until she remembered the river not so far away. She flew to the river and dipped her wings into it. And then she flew to the forest and shook little drops of water on the flames. They sizzled away to nothing. She flew back to the river and returned again, and again and again and again. Just the little drops of water that she could shake from her wings fell and disappeared in the voracious flames. The great deities, the beings of light, the bodhisattvas, saw her and began to weep at the love, the compassion, the dedication of this little bird. And while the little bird alone could not put out the fire, the tears of the bodhisattvas ran together into a great river and the fire was extinguished.

Every small moment of peace, every moment of inner stillness, no matter how small, is like a drop of water that enters the vast river of compassion and flows out into the world, that carries one into ever greater peacefulness and wholeness.

The dark is a time of dream and vision. Hold in your heart a vision: whatever it is that brings you greater peace, understanding and compassion. Whatever image you can hold in your heart, in your inner eye, that brings you greater peace and love, hold that, attend to it, nurture it. From that vision grows greater peace, in your own heart and in the world.

May all beings be happy, peaceful and free of suffering.

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