The Power of Silence

“The universe is a dance between silence and sound, stillness and movement.”

–Si Gong

There are two sayings, silence equals consent or silence equals apathy. I agree that there are times when silence is a sign of consent, apathy, or both. But sometimes silence can be very powerful, and does not indicate either consent or apathy.

The qualities of silence and sound, and stillness and movement are interdependent and rely on each other for their effectiveness. Which means in practical terms that we all have to decide when to speak and when to be silent. We must choose when and how to act, and when to yield and do nothing. This is not always easy to do. Yet, choice is the fulcrum of destiny.

Several years ago, I had a very jarring and painful experience. I was watching on the news, live, from a drone or helicopter, with an overview, the tsunami as it was hitting the shores of Japan. I watched in horror as the wave headed towards people driving or standing on roads, unaware that the wave was coming for them! I wanted to yell (I think I did) “Watch out, get out of there!” I wanted to reach through the screen and pull them to safety. As the wave came close enough for them to see, I watched cars and people make a series of moves to escape their fate, but I knew it was hopeless. I felt strange, guilty, and powerless, as I had no choice but to be a witness or turn away!

This for me is a new phenomenon. Thousands of tragedies have occurred in my lifetime, but I heard about them after they happened, when I knew I could not personally do anything to stop it. Yet, with our new technology, we can view what is happening as it unfolds everywhere!. We can see people in rubble enclaves about to die, crying out for help. We do not hear accounts of injustices after the fact and decide who we will believe, we watch it unfold before our very eyes. This technology is a blessing, maybe even in the way it disturbs us? But it is also overwhelming, so much information coming in, literally 24 hours a day. TMI is a real thing. How can you process it all, keep your sanity, speak out and take action responsibly and still have a fulfilling life?

You know with all the cards on the table, sooner or later someone, or even your own conscience will ask…. “What were you doing when?”

In truth the reality is much the same, as in any point in history? People have lived in times of massive injustice and have had to decide how they would respond or not respond to it? One difference is that it is getting harder and harder to say you didn’t know. But what you do know is that you can’t respond to all of it. There is not enough of you to go around, and your resources are limited. You have to make a choice, and yes ignoring it and pretending you didn’t know is also a choice.

“Your sphere of concern is greater than your sphere of influence.”

Imagine there was a giant mansion that had been trashed. A hundred people wanting to help came rushing in, and each one tried to do everything. They ran around bumped into each other. Got in each other’s way. Yelled at each other, each telling the other what they should be doing

Now rewind, they all walked into the house and each focused on a different part of the house. They gave their particular area their 100% attention. In this case not only was the house eventually restored. Each person had time to actually enjoy their life during the project! Let’s face it, most people are determined to enjoy their lives anyway, and I agree if we can’t enjoy our lives, what are we saving the world for?

I have been a bit of a seeker, during this life. I guess it is injustice itself that has spurred a greater search beyond the shores of my attempt to right the many wrongs I see. For many years I have meditated, prayed, chanted, in an effort to commune with a power greater than myself to help me address this fanciful mess.

About 30 years into my spiritual quest, I came to a place I had been to many times along the way. After entering deeper into my heart, feeling a level of love, peace, and joy, that had always been my restoration and strength, I stood symbolically outside the gates of an inner temple. As I said I had been to this place many times, and had always been afraid to enter. I say afraid, but that in itself is strange because I knew there was nothing to fear in this inner abode, rather a wonderful bliss and splendor that I had been seeking all my life?

Usually I would purposely distract myself and turn away. Yet, this time I heard a still small voice that asked “Why won’t you enter?” It was one of those moment s where I had to face the truth. There was “no place to run to baby, no place to hide.” It wasn’t even that I was scared. It was that I couldn’t give myself permission to enter a realm that was nothing but pure love, everlasting peace, and causeless bliss. “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Right?

I responded to the voice “How can I enter into such a love, when the world is filled with so much hate? How can I enter into such a peace, when the world is filled with so much conflict and war? How can I enter into such a joy, when the world is filled with so much suffering?” The answer came swiftly and gracefully, “Because it is who I created you to be, it is the essence of who you are, and you do not stop hatred, war, and suffering, by refusing to enter into love, peace, and joy, these things can only come into the world through the human heart that surrenders to them, abides in them, and dares to express them in their thoughts words and actions.” Good answer!

This was the answer I needed and I stepped through the veil. Wordless! It is amazing what lives in the deepest chambers of our hearts, and what we will meet there if we have the courage to enter!

Now, I admit I was tempted to just sit and enjoy this inner paradise. But I do not believe we came all this way to sit around and do nothing. There is work to do in the world. And for those of us who are aware, injustices to address. What changes after entering the eternal center of our being, is the vibration we bring to the work we do. Mother Theresa said. “Do small acts of kindness, with great love”.

I built a wonderful Kung Fu School in Tucson, Arizona with my wife, children, and a wonderful team of committed souls. It is home of Girl Power, Peaceful Warriors, and the Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, all worthy branches of the Shaolin Temple Institute. The school is making an impact because it is a place filled with the vibration of love. Don’t get me wrong the techniques are good, and the art is beautiful, but it is the touch of love that changes a life, touches a community, and transforms a world.

So go ahead and take action, but let it be the one, two, or three things, your heart calls you to. There is power in focus. I would suggest you can’t do it all, just don’t fail to do what you can. Live your life and do your work like a prayer, after that let it go, be at peace, and enjoy the gift. We have a saying, “Make sure you don’t build a fortress with little inside worth defending.”

If you don’t change nothing will change.

Peace, Si Gong

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