March 2, 2021

The Ultimate Silence




"So we aren't our body", I said to my mom, "and we aren't our thoughts either."

"Mmhmm", she replied.

"So what are we?" I asked. "What else is there?"

She laughed and laughed.

I thought she might say something after she stopped laughing.

She didn't. 


My mom was born May 13, 1935, the oldest in a large family. 

She was a woman of few words. 

When young, I saw it as weakness. How wrong I was. 

It was her super power, her survival skill set. 

Her quiet, calm approach made it possible for her to survive caring for 5 kids and a husband. That alone is a monumental feat. 

In addition, mom was breaking free of traditional expectations of a women's role in the family and society. 

It was women's liberation before that became a dirty word. No, it always was a dirty word for a certain segment of society. That did not deter her.

She went to university and got a degree. She got her own job. She got her own place. And for the first time, she got her own life and the freedom that we all yearn for.

That demonstrated a depth of strength that was camouflaged by her quiet exterior. 

Not wordy or boastful, she told me, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

It could have been her Catholic upbringing, which would have taught her that "too much talk leads to sin". 

When our mouths are full of our own words, we have little time for the words of others, and she was a good listener. That is a quality not many people have today.

A spiritual woman and lifelong learner, she studied Zen and Eastern religion after leaving the church. She found similar teachings regarding exercising one's mouth excessively there. 

In Zen, talking to much is a frowned-upon transgression. My quiet mom could have been a Zen saint. 

Or maybe she was.

She didn't use words to let me know what we are if we aren't our bodies, and we aren't our minds. 

She showed me what we are by her quiet example.

We are the witness, the watcher. Discovering this can only happen in still, calm quietness. 

Mom taught me that there is a lot to learn while listening, and not so much while talking.

In silence one finds wisdom, and one finds strength.

Mom entered the ultimate silence on January 19, 2021.





"If today was your last day in this body, 
would the mind’s chatter, plans or desires 
hold any real value for you? 

No. 

Then why not live from this attitude now?"

- Mooji

19 comments:

  1. I am so sorry. We should all emulate your mother.

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss. She was noble woman, ahead of her times. Now I know why you are so special.

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  3. Anonymous3/03/2021

    I would of liked to meet your mother. We would have been friends. Thank you for sharing her with us.
    Wishing you Grace.
    Patricia

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  4. Anonymous3/03/2021

    My deepest sympathy. She sounds like a great women.
    Linda

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  5. My condolences. This post is such a lovely tribute to your mother.

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  6. Wonderful tribute to your Mom.

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  7. What a lovely way to pay tribute to your mom. What a remarkable woman. You were blessed (as was I) with good mothering. It is a gift for our lifetime.

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  8. Anonymous3/03/2021

    My father was the strong yet quiet one. He passed 30 years ago and I still miss him, as well as missing my dear mother who has been gone about 20 years now. Thank you for sharing your mother with us - she sounds as amazing as you are. - Mary

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  9. Thank you, everyone.

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  10. P.S. I love the idea of the ultimate silence. That sounds like heaven to me.

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    1. It gets pretty quiet at night out here in the country. It is dead compared to the city, and we like it that way.

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  11. I am sorry for your loss. Your mom was an interesting woman. Did you ever discuss philosophy with her or even how she came to her point of view? I learned a lot from conversations with my father. I also learned from his example to be content and to trust my own judgement. After thirty years I can remember him without crying with the loss.

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    1. We did have a chance to discuss many things. I would have liked the opportunity to discuss more. She was an amazing person.

      Learning to be content from someone is a great gift. Both my parents were simple living, gentle people.

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  12. I found this as I am sitting in Hospice, waiting for my MiL to pass on.
    She is in no hurry, but I thought it interesting that the Universe directed me to this post.

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    1. Synchronicity. When we slow down enough it is possible to see more of the connections we have with each other and the Universe. Peace to you and your family.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I am so very sorry for your loss Greg. We are all eternal: We are stardust and have been here, in one form or another, from the first moments of the universe, and will continue to be here as long as the universe continues to exist. When the universe takes us back it is very possible that we become part of billions of life forms - that thought, taught me by my father, always has the ability to actually make me excited.

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    2. We are in total agreement. My mom had a green burial and went back to the Earth in a cloth shroud. She will be the forest in no time.

      Life is exciting.

      Death also.

      What's next?

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  14. Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories. Wishing you and your loved ones comfort.

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