the silence of objects


Bodegón_de_recipientes_(Zurbarán)

POSTCARD#73: Delhi: The rain stops around 5am. It’s been going most of the night, rattling down on the atelier roof window. Pleasantly deafening… the novelty of it. Rain! So long since we’ve had rain – the hot season is coming to an end! It’s enough to just lie in bed and listen to it falling in great patterns of syncopated rhythm I feel must have had a beginning somewhere… drifting in and out of sleep until it stops. Stillness, the sense of a sailing ship becalmed. The feeling of the in-breath in the nasal cavities, allowing the universe to enter and pass through this sensory organism. The deep knowledge of it – awareness of these surroundings, these circumstances and this quiet state of at-ease alertness.

Daylight. Time to get up, bare feet on cool stone slabs: pita, pata, pit, pat, pata, pit, pit… stop and look out the window; everything is totally wet out there. Aware, suddenly, of cold feet, consciousness of a physical object, contact with the world. Aware of thought and aware of no-thought. Awareness of the cognitive function and waking up to this pastel coloured pinkish, grey-blue dawn light spreading through the rooms, along the corridor leading to the front and out through glass doors to the tiled patio, shiny with wetness… and up there, a silver sky. In the darkness of the room things slowly begin to be seen, and the memory of the night before returns; objects, a pen, a cup, papers scattered around, left in the position they were in, unmoved. Cup handle sticks out, waiting for fingers to come and hold it… a quiet presence. The silence of inanimate things, neutrality, accepting it all as it is, awareness of objects and non-objects, the motionless space where everything is situated, context and content, awareness of that which normally passes unseen.

Tall buildings all around us, standing there like huge objects placed in a vast landscape… the clouds above, layer upon layer up into the vaulted sky. Their shadows cast over our small house, single storied, old wood-frame windows, thatched structure on top, roof garden and trees at the door… as if we were in a mountain valley surrounded by tall cliffs and the sun reaches us for only a few hours a day. Our perception of the universe is as tiny as it is for micro-organisms that live at the bottom of the ocean, remotely aware that far above them the sun is shining. The slightest change in light conditions in that underwater glimmer, the smallest increase in light calibration enters consciousness and brings with it a great brilliance of illumination. They can contemplate being present to their cold darkness, knowing that this is not the only experience in the world because the sun is shining inside their heart.

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminated the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” [Lao Tzu]    

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Note: this post contains excerpts from an earlier post titled Spaciousness of Being.
Image: Francisco de Zurbarán, Bodegón or Still Life with Pottery Jars, 1636
Thanks to: Living Success 3D for the Lao Tzu quote, which appears in the post titled: The Greatest Gift to Give.

10 thoughts on “the silence of objects

  1. This is just beautiful… truly beautiful! I love, and you must love, the cool tiles and the pita, pats sound in the welcome coolness. Wonderful, too, the study, snapshots really, of objects, like the cup waiting to be held. Objects are still it is true, but according to string theory that is illusion. They are composed of just too many wriggling, worm-like, loopy strings. And absolutely stunning, the analogy of you in the valley of tall buildings to the creatures at the bottom of the sea, feeling sunshine within. That is stunning. Bravo!!! Lastly, the quote gives me some much needed hope. Thank you!

    • Thank you, I’m really pleased you found it so interesting. I’ll need to read up a bit more about string theory… the objects are just there, seen in ordinary consciousness in the state of stillness. I don’t know, no words for it, there’s something about them just being there and the space they occupy. Also maybe it’s their positions, like chess pieces have a relationship to each other.

  2. Such a joy to read. Your level of awareness is a true gift you have obviously cultivated over the years. It’s certainly an inspiration to me. Thank you.

    • Thanks for these kind words, the still life is by Francisco de Zurbarán – objects with a kind of presence. And the idea of postcards is that the space to write on is limited, encourages me to be minimalist, “a sentence should contain no unnecessary words”, only the essential details.

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