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Barbara Biziou

by Barbara Biziou

A day of Silence
Can be a pilgrimage in itself.

A day of Silence
Can help you listen
To the soul play
Its marvelous lute an drum.

Is not most talking
A crazed defense of a crumbling fort?

I thought we came here
To surrender in silence,

To yield to Light and Happiness,

To Dance within
In celebration of Love’s victory!

Renderings of Hafiz, I heard God Laughing, Daniel Ladinsky

I am sitting here writing about the power of silence in a city that is filled with sound and never sleeps. It feels like a Cosmic joke. How can I write about silence and solitude when I am in constant motion? Maybe it is the power of contrast that allows me to see so clearly how important it is to renew my soul with the sweetness of peace and quiet.

John O’Donohue says that “If you have a trust in and an expectation of your own solitude, everything that you need to know will be revealed to you. Silence is the sister of the divine.”

The Joys of Everyday Ritual by Barbara Biziou

My mind wanders to the old talk and listen buzzers in apartments in New York. In order to contact someone you had to push the “talk “ button, but you could not hear their answer unless you pushed the “listen “ button. I remember that someone once told me that prayer was like the talk button and meditation was like the listen button. Unless you are quiet and make space, you never hear the answer.

This started me thinking about a story one of my friends had told me years ago. After a successful career in business, Dan, a 65-year-old Californian, decided to go to India to meet his spiritual teacher. He flew over to India and with much difficulty found his way to the teaching being held above a carpet shop in an old part of town. He nervously entered the shop and asked the owner where he could find his teacher. The man pointed to a ladder in the back of the shop. With fear and trepidation, Dan climbed up the ladder into a large room filled with about 100 devotes all in silent meditation. Since he was the only Westerner there, he tried to hide in the back of the room without being conspicuous. At that moment the Master looked at him and said kindly, “ Since you are a visitor here, you can ask me anything you want.” Dan’s mind went blank and then he blurted out, “What is the meaning of life?” The voices in his head went crazy with criticism. “How could you be so stupid they said.” "What is wrong with you?” The voices in his head took over completely and he was so busy criticizing himself that he missed the Teacher’s answer.

As I pondered this story I realized that it is not just the outer noise that needs to quiet, but the inner voices that constantly keep me from hearing the truth of my soul. The superficial chatter distracts me from knowing my true nature and robs me of the trust and peace I long for. I know that the Universe breathes and shares its gifts if I can quiet long enough to listen. When I listen I remember who I am and feel infused with the energy of grace and possibilities.

When I decided to strengthen my daily practice, my friend Nancy suggested that I not answer the phone in the morning.  What a concept! I did resist at first, and in the beginning it was harder than the time I gave up coffee. It became clear to me that I had an addiction to intensity. But over time, it has become easier and now the quiet mornings are a part of my life that I cherish. My quiet mornings bring me into a silence and stillness that I require to know the Divine Presence.

The Joy of Family Rituals by Barbara Biziou

Of course there are times when I cannot give myself this gift of silence, but I have a new awareness of the times when the phone intrudes into my life. This expanded consciousness helps me navigate the noise and interruptions in my daily life.

Walk in silence

Take a walk in your town or city. Promise yourself that you will not speak. Communicate with others by smiling or gesturing, but do not use words. Open up to the possibilities of a deeper communication. Pretend that you are a stranger in this place and that you need to connect without knowing the native language.

It is amazing what you will discover.

Commune with Nature

Ask the Universe to send you guidance on what would be important for you to know. Then go outside and be open to receiving an answer. Notice what catches your eye. It may be a certain plant, flower, rock, bird or an insect. Take the time to connect to whatever has caught your interest. See what wisdom it has to share with you.

Labor Day weekend I was out at Shelter Island sitting under the oldest tree on the island. At one point I stood up and leaned my back against the trunk. I could feel my connection with the magnetic resonances of the earth moving through her roots and trunk. I felt healed and energized at the same time by the power of the earth and the tree. Being with this magnificent tree gave me an awareness of the wisdom of this tree and how she had seen so many cycles come and go. It gave me a new appreciation of aging and elder hood.

Spend time in silence with a friend. Decide to share sacred ritual time with someone close to you. See what it is like to just be together without words.

“The depth and substance of a friendship mirrors itself in the quality and shelter of the silence between two people. --John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

Barbara Biziou
Barbara Biziou, author of The Joys of Everyday Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals, is an interfaith minister, a life coach, and a leading expert on ritual and meditation. She teaches us how to restore ritual to its rightful place as food for the soul through practical, easy to use ritual recipes that are inspiring and fun. Barbara shows people how to incorporate spirituality into their existing lifestyles and hectic schedules – without creating extra work or stress!  For private sessions, weddings and ceremonies contact her at barbara@joyofritual.com or www.joyofritual.com.


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