Peri and I greet you as we come into November's day of chosen silence. I am including some paragraphs I wrote recently in an evolving article about "the space-between". I am pointing to a context for the silence practice that has meaning for me.
"I saw a NASA video recently taken by the Hubble telescope peering into the dark space between visible heavenly bodies. Apparently the footage took over ten years to record. It took a major effort to convince the lead scientists in charge of the telescope’s use to spend valuable recording aimed at the black void. The result can be seen here: http://www.flixxy.com/hubble-ultra-deep-field-3d.htm. Billions of stars and galactic centers emerged out of the dark void. This short video gives us a view of our celestial home that changes our sense of self and placement in the great matrix of life. The “something” discovered in the “nothing” changes everything.
Perhaps we can turn the telescope of our own attention in to the space-between in our own lives, also not a very popular, or at least familiar, pastime. Deep in our cultural psyche, at least here in the west, is the conviction that meaning is in the visible things we do. We are paid for what we accomplish, and sought after for the results we produce in the world. If we are between jobs, we are doing our level best to get to the next engagement as fast as possible. If we are between relationships, we are strategizing to create the next intimate connection. We track the economy and demand that our the leaders get us back on track, as we busily position ourselves for the next spike in the stock market. What if, though, the breakdown of business, as usual, is a gift of the universe, guiding our attention into the space-between these concrete markers of fulfillment?
I am endeavoring to describe nothing less than a figure ground reversal where the real meaning, and deepest generativity, is in the awkward and painful spaces between jobs when our identity as we have known it falters, between relationships when we are alone, in the blessed insecurity of financial crisis. Could it be that in the rush for comfort and familiar ground, that we miss the elegant alternatives to business-as-usual that is fast becoming a myth? And that the deep inspiration and creativity needed to address the challenges of our time is waiting for us, if we can turn our attention in new directions? Artists call this space between form “negative space”."
Could this relate to our practice of silence?
And now, for the sheer joy of it, I am attaching two videos. Surely music springs from the wellspring of life found in our common depths.
A couple of weekends ago (Nov 4, 2010), shoppers at the the Macy's in Philadelphia (the old Wanamaker building) were surprised when over 600 choristers who were there mingling with regular shoppers suddenly burst into Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. It's pretty awesome.
The Opera Company of Philadelphia was instrumental in bringing it together to perform one of the Knight Foundation's "1000 Random Acts of Culture" which they'll be doing over the next three years across the country. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the singers burst into song at exactly noon. Turn up the volume (be carefull if you are in the office!)
Finally, I invite you to see Elsie's thoughtful comments on the blog (Elsie from New York/Santa Fe). I have noted that she and others are having challenges getting contributions onto the blog. Feel free to write back to me and Jennifer with any thoughts you have, and we will post them.
I am so happy to greet you all this week, and give thanks for each precious one of the 150 plus women receiving this note.