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Just, Shut the Fuck Up: Silence as the Key to Liberation

By Cody Taft

Final Paper

Presented to the faculty of Senior Project Seminar II in the BA Contemplative Psychology Department of Naropa University in partial fulfillment for the degree of Bachelor of Arts

Naropa University May 2013



Just, Shut the Fuck Up: Silence as the Key to Liberation

By Cody Taft

__________________________________________ Cody Taft Student __________________________________________ Kyle Sorys Peer Reader _________________________________________ Jason Appt, MA Faculty _________________________________________ Tammy Lea McKaskle, MA Professional Assistant




Copyright 2013 by Cody Taft All rights reserved


Frank Berliner. and he asked “when are you gonna put that into practice. I love you all! 4 .” love you man! Thanks to Sonia Temkin for allowing me to write this about her. my sister Ambree who is growing up to be such an amazing woman. and my grandmother Beatrice Gonzalez for always being there for me. Carole Clements. Your classes changed my life! Thanks to my brothers from another mother Ben and Luke Berry. especially my psych teachers Jason Appt. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION Acknowledgements I would like to thank my parents Ofelia and Matthew Corrington for raising me as they did. I love you both so much! Thanks to all of the students and friends who have helped to hold me up through this.JUST. my grandmother Gaynell Taft for being my solid rock. I am so grateful to have you two in my life. I love you! Thanks to Jamie Knowlton and Colleen Basham for being snuggle bunnies and work buddies. Thank you Chogyam Trungpa for bringing this school into existence! Thank you to all of the Naropa teachers and faculty. and Robert Diehl. and I love 4 you very much!!! Thanks to Cody Popejoy for bitch slapping my ego when I told him the name of the paper.

JUST. which means every single one of you! I dedicate this to all of us waking up to our true nature and living the most liberated beautiful lives we can live. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 5 Dedication This paper is dedicated to every jewel in Indra’s net. 5 .

JUST. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 6 Table of Contents Abstract It Begins The Learn’d Astronomer Fear of Freedom Sunyata Inner Silence Nirvana Indra’s Net Music as Meditation Listen Death The Challenge Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 12 Page 15 Page 19 Page 21 Page 22 Page 24 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 6 .

The author utilizes Buddhist texts on that nature of reality. The practice of listening to music and its affect on the mind is also explored. buddhism. liberation. music. sunyata 7 . SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION Abstract 7 This paper explains why silence the key to liberation. to elucidate his point as to why individuals should actually be silent towards the thoughts in their mind rather than attempt to silence them. The nature of thoughts and where they come from is defined. freedom.JUST. Key words: silence. and techniques to help an individual learn how to be silent within the mind are provided. fear. The author also uses his own experience to show the benefits of silence and shows what might be heard within it.

” For a long time I strived for this. There was no-thing that could be said about it that would encompass it completely. I will have answered these questions: 1. and in this I began to say. giving some-thing to others. if I knew some-thing. The next statement came from my own experience of the true nature of reality. How can we come to know no-thing. We all want to know some-thing. It was infinitely immense. How does no-thing. “I know no-thing.” And I really did know no-thing. and by the end.JUST. by calling it some-thing. it was the hidden teaching. The world in which we live is based in this. and wanting me to say “I know some-thing. For. so that we have some-thing to 8 hold on to. Any time someone spoke to me it seemed to be their underlying message. I would be able to engage in conversation. For what if there was no-thing? This is where the next statement comes in to play. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION Just. I would have some-thing to offer the world around me. Everyone seemed to be saying. The first I was taught from a very early age. shut the fuck up! Silence as the Key to Liberation There are two very important statements I have heard in my life. I could only know no-thing in silence. birth some-thing? 6. I could not sum it up. Are there techniques and practices that we may come to know no-thing? 5. How can music help us to know no-thing? 8 . and why would we want to? 3. What does Buddhism say about no-thing? 2. I wanted so bad to know some-thing. Why would we afraid of no-thing. I knew no-thing with all of my being. Silence is what this paper is about. In any classroom I was in. and what keeps us from knowing no-thing? 4.

(p. The scientists. heard the astronomer. sitting. unaccountable. I became tired and sick. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION The Learn’d Astronomer Walt Whitman (1968) elucidates clearly the predicament of knowing something and no-thing in his poem “The Learned Astronomer” When I heard the learn’d astronomer.” This astronomer and his knowledge represent the side of knowing some-thing. The world is filled with these kinds of people. to add. 9 When I. lawmen. When the proofs. What have these learned men really taught. 256) The poem starts with the narrator listening to a lecture by a “learn’d astronomer. and he sure does. where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room. “figures”. Though very few of them actually provide any experiential exercises that allow the listener to experience what they are telling them. and dogmatic religious preachers love to tell everyone else how life is. and from time to time. When I was shown the charts and diagrams. He seems to know some-thing about astronomy. but facts that can be spread and regurgitated to another? There is nothing novel in 9 . In the mystical moist night-air. I wander’d off by myself. divided and measured. How soon. were arranged in columns before me. bosses. and measure them. Till rising and gliding out. “charts and diagrams” that can be added. divide. “columns”. bankers. philosophers. for he has “proofs”. and perhaps even a few some-things. teachers.JUST. the figures. Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. There is very little in life that will keep my attention while someone tells me all about life. it seems that the narrator had the same feeling as he “became tired and sick. which will inherently limit their understanding of the world around them. anything is possible. It seems rather silly to hold onto or even waste time disseminating these facts. It is priceless and timeless and can only be shared by showing another person the doorway to experience and letting them have their own. For knowing no-thing is to be imbued with mystery. For if the individual feels that they must tell me of their experience. and they do not grow. and 10 hopefully not question the ‘learn’d’ man too much. they do not move.” There is a huge difference from knowing some-thing like the astronomer or knowing no-thing. The giving is the gift of permission for another to experience something new and personal to them. for if someone finds another fact that makes more sense. the old fact ceases to exist. They do not change. that cannot be put into words. and the idea of infinity is suggested. in the mystery of night and perfect silence. There is a feeling and an experience that comes with this. leaving little to the imagination and inspiring me in no way. The only they can do is die. just as it is when one looks up at the stars in the silent night. and I cannot witness their 10 .” listening to the “learn’d astronomer”. in the next line when he says he “wander’d off into the moist night-air. This is the power of knowing no-thing. Next the narrator backs up the idea of silence and knowing no-thing. The audience is expected to take the facts for what they are. and from time to time. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION facts.JUST. not by ruining the surprise or mystery with facts and explanations of how it all works. and limit the possibilities of their reality. In the poem.

However I was not always this way. This started with religious and philosophical debates. oneness and interconnectedness of everything in existence. Eventually however I began to think for myself. Anyone can prove their point given enough evidence. and as I did my friends looked at me for a sec. for further affirmations of what could have been hallucinations. and anyone can find their evidence given enough time. Later I would find ancient Vedic and Buddhist texts that seemed to describe perfectly the experiences I had of infinitude. No longer could I hold onto my previous beliefs and I tried to make sense of the from 11 . and eventually led to my interest in psychedelic mushrooms. It was terrifying for it shook me to my core. and began to wonder about the mysterious parts of life. Facts were what I lived for and I longed for someone to tell me what to do or show me the way.JUST. Potential and possibility had no limits. My mind was open unlike ever before. I witnessed a cosmic swirling or clouds. and trees and grass and even my friends who sat around me. From then on I began to explore meditation and Buddhism. When I was younger I listened to everything anyone told me. but in actuality was the true nature of reality beginning to expose itself to me. and I had no desire to seek for anything more than the immense infinite moments that I had. It was during this experience that I was shown for the first given a glimpse into reality in a way I had never seen it before. So this does nothing for me. then I do not want anything to do with them. Anyone can memorize or make up facts. limitlessness. I let out a yell as this swirl began to suck me in. and then went back to talking. Everything I thought I knew of reality and how it worked was no up for grabs and I loved it. I laughed at the absurdity of it all. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 11 wisdom and insight through their daily activities outside of their lectures.

examining why we are so reluctant to be silent and to observe life truthfully in its infinite mystery. Fear of Freedom. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 12 my new framework. look up in perfect silence at the stars” (p. so I had to allow this framework to build around me. or that they must do this and not that? What is so terrifying about making ones own decisions? What is so frightening about stepping into Whitman’s “mystical moist night-air.” “If a man cannot live with freedom. Totalitarianism can be tempting. This book examines one of the core tenants of this paper. 257). the groundlessness. Fear of Freedom “Freedom can be frightening. and remaining flexible with beliefs. telling them this is right or wrong. that being: 12 . He will probably turn to fascism. Fromm posits that freedom is a burden that comes with immense responsibility. in other words to know no-thing.JUST. for I know of the impermanence and constant flux that is inherent in nature. never forgetting the true nature. Why are humans so quick to grab hold of these ideals and beliefs. and from time to time. that they will sacrifice all intelligent self-introspection and reflection in order to fall in line with the crowd? Why do humans always want a voice in their head. and respecting the chaotic infinitude I live within. though that seemed unfruitful.” The above quotes are from the book jacket of Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom or as it was published outside of the United States. theories and ideas.

Obviously it would be much easier to do as someone says.” for what does that mean? Fromm explains this by saying: One premise for this spontaneity is the acceptance of the total personality and the elimination of the split between “reason” and “nature”. 285).” later describing spontaneous activity as not compulsive but “of one’s free will” (p. integrated personality. the more he gains freedom in the sense of emerging from the original oneness with man and nature and the more he becomes an “individual. and only if the different spheres of life have reached a fundamental integration. integrated personality. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION That man. This is a daunting task that humanity is given. as he speaks of “the total. is spontaneous activity possible (p.JUST. that he then must also unite with the world or will find security in something else by giving up his freedom. for only if man does not repress essential parts of his self. especially if at the core one does not agree with parts of it. only if he has become transparent to himself. One might begin to even more the weight of this burden of freedom with these statements.” has no choice but to unite himself with the world in the 13 spontaneity of love and productive work or else to seek a kind of security by such ties with the world as destroy his freedom and the integrity of his individual self (p. Fromm elaborates on freedom as “the spontaneous activity of the total. having left the womb and given the responsibility and free will to do as he pleases. rather than have to decide and navigate for oneself their place in the world. 285). 37-38) So Fromm is saying that the more freedom that man gains by becoming an individual. 13 .

unhealthy relationship power dynamics. We love to repress these and pretend like others have those but not us. whom may have performed atrocious acts. This is no easy task and I believe that for many people. To refuse to find compassion for fellow humans and their conditions. and know that they are responsible for their actions. peer-pressure from friends. that burden of responsibility is so heavy that many people turn to some authority to tell them how to be and how not to be. and see any kind of compassion. this fear of transparency and seeing their true selves is too daunting of a task. and it is hard or impossible to look at their lives. To look at a killer. One can often see glimpses of these aspects of oneself when encountering people. This all coming from the fear of taking responsibility for the infinite freedom with which one is gifted and that grows more and more from birth. or stories of people. and an inability to see that all people are capable of heinous events and that is terrifying. when he mentions the absence of repression of parts of himself and becoming transparent to himself. might bring up the question of whether or not. given the exact circumstances of that person. That fear. it is usually a sure sign of repression within oneself. That authority could be religion. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 14 The burden gets heavier here.JUST. or even fascism. There are parts of us that are not pleasant to look at. For what would it mean to encounter oneself and to see all of those tiny aspects of ourselves that we do not want to see? We are complex individuals complete with light and shadow aspects. one would do the same. and that they did it any way. 14 . science. knowing that infinite factors contributed to their acting out in the way that they did.

but that I spoke more with my actions rather than my speech. I “knew” that I knew some-thing of importance and I loved the power that came along with it. Perhaps they want to 15 blow someone’s mind. for they are terrified of being alone and experiencing the true emptiness that is at the nature of reality.” because I think that is exactly what I was doing. I have been the know-it-all that wanted everyone to know what I knew. That what I really needed to be was silent. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION One way of security and authoritarian surrender that is often overlooked because it is so praised in the world is scientific insight and knowledge of something. just as fascism is. Fromm’s (1968) questioning of man’s lust for power rings true when he asks “is it the strength of their vital energy – or is it a fundamental weakness and inability to experience life spontaneously and lovingly. unless someone asked something of me. and provided space for others to express themselves in whatever spontaneous way 15 . After attempting to preach my gospel I eventually came to realize that that would not work at all. Often they would ask something of me. This felt much more fulfilling. and I have been this person. I do not mean that I did not speak at all. after witnessing how I lived my life. as it was in my case. This is why I am so reluctant to hear from people preaching or “simply” teaching because.JUST. Surrender is often what people are doing when they say they know something and they so desperately want to tell someone about it. Surrendering to some belief system and spreading the word is a form of destroying freedom. I suspect they are compensating for an actual lack in their own life. perhaps they want to convince others of their predicament or hope that they will join them on their side. pushing away true spontaneous loving life in exchange for preaching what I “knew” to the people that needed it.

that I got scared of actually confronting that unknown and had to go inside. It was so dark. To help illuminate this. often in the form of anxiety. Silence speaks very loudly. I started to imagine all sorts of things. We have no idea what’s on the other side. but the fact 16 . exciting. was a huge pasture. would we walk through it. 16 and I would not have experienced this without encountering inner silence. alien abductions specifically. and there were no streetlights on. Anything and everything arises out of silence. there is a scenario and question I posit to friends of mine occasionally when we get into discussions of this matter. freedom here. what will happen to us. all of reality comes from it. I propose to them that if a door were to suddenly appear before us. and I speak from experience. wherever we are at the moment. The void and silence can be truly terrifying. which were both stimulating. Sunyata In silence. and there is an anticipation that can come with silence. because there is so much potential. anything is possible. behind which. and my mind started racing. but at the same time so full of the unknown and possibilities beyond anything I could imaging. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION they felt. This is why so many people are afraid of the dark. having witnessed someone else do the same. a door magically appears before us. I remember not too long ago being on the back porch of my house. in which an infinite space was allowed to emerge and help me realize I was filled with and immersed in this space. It was the middle of the night. in some ways inviting.JUST. we have no idea where it leads. after midnight. speaking to potential and possibility. I completely understand that so many people are afraid of it and specifically afraid of the freedom that it provides.

and hopefully allowing one to look at the door. which is commonly translated as ‘void’ or ‘empty-ness’. rather than completely ignore it or just walk away. (p. is sunya. describes sunyata as so: …the root su. leading to the other side of the room. 89) 17 . So to experience sunyata would be to know no-thing. and also the burden of responsibility for the consequences of our decision. is possible. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 17 that a door did just appear in front of us is undeniable. and the experience over.JUST. and we have the freedom to walk through. So there is a perspective of looking at this void that might help with the anxiety and fear of silence and choice. There are so many amazing possibilities it could be and it could also be absolutely nothing. There is no communication whatsoever of what is behind the door. which translates to ‘no-thing. on perhaps the opportunity of a lifetime. which means “to be swollen. Nagarjuna emphasizes that it is only because everything is sunya that any change.’ So sunyata is no-thingness. What would you do? No doubt it would be terrifying to walk into that unknown territory.” Like a hollow balloon but also like a pregnant woman therefore the usual English translation “empty” and “emptiness” needs to be supplemented with the notion of “pregnant with possibilities. This should give a flavor to the type of predicament that silence and freedom provide. David Loy (1996). The root of this word. including spiritual transformation. There is an old Sanskrit term used in Buddhism called sunyata. but also what an opportunity to walk through and experience something unlike ever before.” Rather than sunyata being a negative concept.

except the chaos and potential that is the emptiness. but no ground on which to stand. For with sunyata there is ultimate freedom. 88). Sunyata is a place of infinite chaos and flux. that in reality is a realization of the fundamental groundless empty ground of reality. There is absorption almost. for it is not one thing. for it is absent of qualities. The self is not separate from this either. and once more we come up against the burden of freedom. 18 . It is from here that all life is born and in this state of potential. “the spiritual conquerors have proclaimed sunyata to be the exhaustion of all theories and views those or whom suntan is itself a theory they declared to be incurable. For that would not be silence. Knowing no-thing is an experience not a notion of the mind or a theory. If you know sunyata you know no-thing. is to know the pregnant womb of creation. Minds are tricky and they will use anything. there is a slight translation problem. There is no way to possess any quality of it. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION So. Loy (1996) quotes the Mulamadhyamikakarikas saying. presupposing the everyday” (p.. It is from sunyata that everything is born. ultimate potential.. This is what I have meant by saying that to know some-thing is limiting but to know no-thing is infinite and limitless. which can be called no-thing. Sunyata is the groundlessness that comes with silence. any concept in order to preserve the sense of self and to keep from experiencing any sort of death. not a cognitive.JUST. From nowhere everything is born. To know no-thing. notion. so the self is also absent of qualities and is sunyata as well. and there is no better place to be. It is actually everything. though one must be careful when approaching it and not making a theory of Sunyata. to realize one is a part of it and emerging constantly from it. for sunyata is not empty but is actually 18 pregnant with potential.Sunyata is a guiding.

It is here where. This fear can be so great that some people go as far as to not admit to themselves that they have 19 . or find someway to numb the mind to not hear it.” is the most helpful as like with all sign posts. The last thing anyone wants to admit is that they do not have it all figured out. It can be just as scary as walking through the door. This is not true silence. It is like looking under a dark lake. Listening to these. for it is just a muffle. the discursive thoughts and all of the stories one tells itself. once you reach your destination the signs are of no use Inner Silence One of the most difficult places to experience silence is within our own minds. When it gets too noisy. and they might have some thoughts in their head that they would rather not share with people. and chaotic void of the mind. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 19 Saying “sunyata is a guiding. the full. It is hard to admit that that is what is going on in the mind. and if one listens and allows the thoughts to arise. Inside of the mind. Would not one want the mind to be pristine and clean and orderly. that they might be a little scatterbrained. that no one has traveled to the bottom of. I have spoken before about outward silence. one usually starts to overflow into speech. the mind is full. experiencing sunyata. if silent one can begin to listen to all of the habitual patterns. can be truly unsettling. and once again that’s scary. the void/emptiness of our mind is the true silence that should be sought. one will be truly surprised at the contents under the surface. and that is unsettling considering this is an analogy of the mind. with thought is usually the noisiest place of all.JUST. What could be underneath is anyone’s guess. however that is not the case. within the mind and body. or like earplugs. but all of this applies to where the real challenge is. sometime for the first time.

This analogy should help. There is a tendency to do this that comes from our striving to know some-thing. These thoughts do not even have to originate within oneself. a great alternative to experiencing reality. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION these thoughts. or most pure. but that 20 . for selfreflection is a great tool for growth. So. it is not settled at all. People tell themselves so many stories that keep them from hearing what is really underneath and at the core of their mental activity. most clear. The challenge is once again to shut up and listen! There is nothing wrong with thoughts. is talking. a lot. Thoughts do not define an individual. they are thoughts and nothing more. so one may try to know the thought. and one cannot even see one’s own reflection because of all the distortion. When one first begins to investigate the mind they will discover that there are many waves. out loud and 20 within oneself. There is no need to attach to them and hold onto them like a possession. we can try to counter the ripples with other ripples and hope to stop the distortion. is to force the ripples to stop. It would be nice to see the reflection. to have the thought as if it was a possession. usually because totalitarianism. for they can be ways of life. It is not a know some-thing voice. or having some other authority in control is much easier than actually figuring out one’s path and way of life of their own accord. Listening closely and not attaching or clinging to those thoughts will allow them to dissipate and then one can hear a voice that has been there forever. or belief systems that one has adopted from others as their own. but a know no-thing voice.JUST. The mind is like a pond. there is nothing wrong with the thoughts anyone has thought. thoughts are not the individual. or that their mind might not be the most tame. So how does one stop the waves and ripples? The first technique many people try to use.

filled with treasures. and the ceasing to function of discursive thought is ultimate serenity. A great young lyricist from Compton. then the waves and ripples will stop. Instead of a conglomeration of waves and ripples.” What can barely be hinted at with beautiful words like nirvana. the nonfunctioning of perceptions as signs of all named things. separating oneself in essence from them. People talk too much. California 21 . The only way to stop the waves and ripples is to shut up and let the ripples stop. This is a sanksrit word meaning liberation. but just to observe the silent reflection that its purity provides. It is vast and deep. then those things are allowed to just be and by allowing discursive thoughts to cease we find what Loy refers to here as “ultimate serenity. or being free of suffering. that is not a finish line. liberation. but there is no need to try to identify with any certain wave or anything else. This statement from Loy backs up what has been said so far: “The very coming to rest. If one can just be quiet and still. freedom. named things are in repose. is itself nirvana…when verbal assertions cease. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION wont work. the mind becomes the whole pond.” Meaning to stop trying to name things as things. but more so the experience that happens when one finally shuts up and stops labeling the world around them.JUST. the state of mind being hinted towards now is what has been called Nirvana. and ultimate serenity is the end result. The waves and ripples in this metaphor are the thoughts and stories that constantly preoccupy the mind that prevent one from experience the purity of the pond. NIRVANA Though no definition could truly do it justice. It is the stories and attempts at trying to stop the mind that keep 21 perpetuating the storm.

One is actually covering up true reality with a fog of pollution disguised as language and knowledge. they become something incredible. except by being a guide along the way. There is a beautiful Buddhist metaphor that Loy (1996) references to describe the interconnectedness of all things called Indra’s net. To think that one can name something and it truly give that object the ultimate respect that it deserves is preposterous. but in no way does it help to experience true reality for which there are no words. there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it 22 . talk to mother fuckin’ much. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION named Kendrick Lamar (2012. track 2) says it best when he says “my new years 22 resolution is to stop all of pollution. though often it is only a temporary and feeble attempt to prevent oneself from having to actually face the infinite. This is a feeble attempt to know some-thing.JUST. And even that is not certain. and it should be known that this attempt is indeed feeble. it is in no way doing justice to the nature of an objects reality. Indra’s Net The language that humans use is useful to communicate things to others. If one ceases to limit objects in the world to the names humans have applied to them. I say bitch don’t kill my vibe. and everyone is guilty of it. groundless. I got my drink I got my music. chaotic. that helps describe the infinite nature of all objects in reality. it goes like this: Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra.” It really is like polluting the minds and the environment when one has a tendency to speak or think too much. impermanent. and actually begin to see them for what they are. reality that takes impeccable awareness and wakefulness to truly encounter without complete and utter destruction.

a wonderful sight to behold. the jewels are infinite in number. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 23 stretches out infinitely in all directions. and every generation that came before every organism that had any contact with the table. So that to actually call a table a table would be limiting. and since the net itself is infinite in dimension. every piece of food that all the loggers ate that sustained them so that they could cut it down. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities. the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net. carving out crevasses that show up on the tabletop. or anyone who touched the table. rubbing a tiny bit of its wood away. for one would have to refer to every person that helped make it. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it. every person that touched the table. every bug that made a home in the tree.JUST. so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring…It symbolizes a cosmos in which there is an infinitely repeated interrelationship among all members of the cosmos. the tree. 90) This metaphor points to the idea that all reality from the tiniest pieces of atomic matter to the largest galaxies are all reflecting each other infinitely. This relationship is said to be one of simultaneous mutual identity and mutual inter-causality. and we 23 . but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels. every ray of sunshine and drop water that it took to grow the tree. There hang the jewels. we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net. infinite in number. Not only that. (p. the logger. glittering "like" stars of the first magnitude.

allowing communication between one another. an Indian scholar from 600-650 CE.” a term often given to one who has attained Buddha-hood. a perfected one is freed from all ontologizing thought. if one shuts the fuck up! Every moment of experience is not just a tiny fragment. It is possible to experience life in this way. infinitely reflecting each other like the jewels of Indra’s Net. though are useful. tranquil. One would actually be experiencing every bit of reality for eternity. and to be that wave without having to think that one is. but intimately connected to an immense flow and wave of reality that has no beginning or end. 263) “Beyond language are the elements of existence.” So words are limiting. and from everything with name. 'Inexpressible. beyond language are the elements of existence.' To quote. There is a quote by Chandrakirti. O Santamati. and the state of discursive thoughts as perceived by that mind: But. one would have to see the interconnectedness with oneself and the table. pure and devoid of being. the perfected one indulges neither in ontologizing thought nor in phantasies because. is where Nirvana is experienced. in truth. one who knows them so is called a Bodhisattva. tranquil pure and devoid of being” 24 . but they gloss over true reality and make it too easy to forget the beauty that is contained in every moment lived. all innate thought patterns. from The Lucid Exposition of the Middle way by Mervyn Sprung. The quote speaks to “the perfected one. To truly experience the table. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 24 would have to continue ad infinitum to even begin to mention every detail of what that table “is. all flights of phantasy.' (p. and this is the experience of ultimate serenity. a Buddha.JUST.

etc. even sensations felt before can be felt in a completely novel and new way than experienced before. notes. and becoming one with the wave of sounds. The sounds are sounds and they come in and are followed by new sounds and it continues on and on. It is a listening with one’s full being. This is a listening with no preconceived notion and no attempt to make sense of what is being heard. which is not just a specific point in time but a continuous wave of experience.. in one instance one can hear a song and begin to anticipate the next sounds. The best example and practice of this is listening to music. specifically a song already “known. It is a practice of being present with the moment. when one listens to music with lyrics. p. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION are the words that elucidate the act of silence. specifically in a song one has heard before. 263) Music and Meditation 25 The most potent wisdom that comes from being silent is the natural process of listening. lyrics. an experience with no definition attached. one can dwell and allow words that one has heard and allow the mind to attach itself and define or contemplate those sounds. or one can in a sense become the sounds.” it can become very easy to sing the 25 . While listening in this way. taking them in as they are and seemingly getting lost or taken away by the sounds. There is no attachment to the sounds or anticipation of the next ones. There is a feeling of infinitude when one allows oneself to simply be the sounds that are present. in which the sounds and sensations being experienced are just that.JUST. There is a way to listen to music that is much the same as mentioned before with the table. (Sprung. When listening to music there are a few options. quieting the minds words and allowing existence to be “pure” as it is. For example.

This is the gift of silence and listening. listening to music. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION lyrics along when they come. but that is made just by actively listening and not participating in the meaning making. the sounds of the lyrics can be received in a way I have never have conceived of before and I can experience any song again as if for the first time. and even the most mundane seemingly repetitive experience is an experience of the ultimate serenity spoken of earlier.JUST. that some-thing being the lyrics or that I “know” what the artist is singing about. I experience this often when listening to songs I have 26 heard over and over. All moments no matter how similar they seem to a previous moment. I have noticed that when I actually am singing along it is an attempt to know some-thing. truly listening with an open body and mind. and am tempted to sing along. The lyrics hit me in a completely different way and I can sometimes even hear words that I thought I knew and realize that there is a meaning. It can be practice and preparation for every other aspect of reality in which 26 . which would be an experience of allowing oneself to hear the lyrics as if for the first time. So in this way. because this is the ultimate reality that people are searching for. that I am not making. the lyrics can take on a whole different meaning because I am in a different location. but allowing a meaning to form. By listening. especially when listening to music we think we know because we have heard it so many times over. rather than knowing no-thing. By allowing myself to be open to new possibilities every word is a new experience. besides the action of stepping out of the way by shutting up. which is a sense of knowing some-thing. that is novel and more fulfilling than ever before. however when I allow myself to truly listen again. are all novel. in space and time than I have ever been before while listening to the same song. is a spiritual practice.

sound and silence in this way: “When I hear what we call music. is it gets louder and quieter. And it gets longer and shorter. one can gain trust that life knows how to live of its own accord. No moment is ever repeated and every moment is novel if one chooses to hear it. 27 . even something as seemingly mundane as traffic can be a novel blissful experience. For to actually let go and allow it to life to live. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION we think we know. of relationships. and it gets higher and lower. What it does. but in actuality that knowing cannot be known with our discursive thoughtful mind. (jdavidm. I’m completely satisfied with that. The discursive thoughts and fears of letting it happen in a way that might not fit the status quo and may not fit within a regimen of meaning making that keeps one from actually living it to its fullest are what keeps one from seeing this. I have the feeling that a sound is acting. When one is truly listening and not wanting something from the sensory experience. Life cannot be made sense of if one really wants to experience it in its fullest. 2007) In this statement. I don’t have the feeling that anyone is talking. I don’t need sound to talk to me. and talking about his feelings or about his ideas. the sound of traffic here on sixth avenue for instance. But when I hear traffic. Cage brings in the idea of listening to the complexity and novelty of traffic. and I love the activity of sound.JUST. it seems to me that someone is talking. The composer John Cage who took many of his 27 philosophies from Buddhism related his experience to music.

The river never has to second guess where it is going. This technique of listening to music is not too different from samatha vipassana meditation. Listening requires a holistic listening to the environment and the inner self. realizing they are simply flowing through and that there is no need to define them or one’s self by them.JUST. one simply observes reality. it knows. This type of meditation requires an individual to simply sit in a comfortable posture with their eyes open. just like the previously prescribed method of listening to music. 28 . being aware of the outer reality and paying attention to thoughts when they come. but simply noticing they are thoughts and continuing to observe. At this point one can be the river of life. specifically the inner reality composed of thought. noticing them as they come and not attaching to them. so that one allows oneself to remain in situations that are dangerous. In this meditation. when repressing of thoughts happens. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION Listen 28 This is not to say that one does not listen to one’s own body and its intuitive capacity to experience fear when life is threatened. and when one can actually just watch them go by. possibilities and limitations of every given moment. and is a tool to come back to the present when thoughts begin to make ones mind drift. and even the thought of those being separate must be quieted so that one can experience the totality of interconnectedness of life. revealing all potentialities. and life does not have to be any different. One observes when attachment to thought happens. Paying attention to the breath is the key here to bring ones awareness to the present moment. and in fact it can not be if one wants a life that will be as awake and aware as it can be. and know how to flow and allow experience to flow.

Even further. and it is the reaction to the waves that creates either more waves or allows the waves to be and die down of their own accord. David Loy (1996) speaks to this when he says “the true revolution beings in the individual who can be true to his or her depression. there would not be anything for me to tell you about it. There is no need to perpetuate strife. resistance.JUST. One must be true to their suffering and not try to make sense or escape from it in ontological system making that the mind loves to do to protect the self from experiencing the seeming groundlessness that is reality. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 29 So one must begin to listen to ones life. not intercepting it over and over with thoughts as they come. or suffering if it previously exists. listening to music that may at first seem horribly dissonant and unsettling is training for the mind to know that it can make it through unsettling. for they are impermanent just as anything else is.” and suffering can be substituted for depression in this case (p. that it is not the thoughts that are a problem but it is the reaction to those thoughts that create an issue. It is by the embracing of life’s experience. creating more waves and waves of dissonance and strife. Something must be made clear. One must simply be aware and honest to one’s experience. 29 . Zen Master Bankei speaks of thought in this way: “what we call a ‘thought’ is something that has already fallen one or more removes from the living reality of the Unborn. The thoughts are simply like the waves. In Norman Waddell’s (1984) The Unborn. If you priest would just live in the Unborn. anxious and sometimes painful situations. 58). and you would not be here listening to me” (p. that one finds that all of it is impermanent and that it is only the meaning-making mind that attaches to experience and makes it so real that it seems as if there is no escape from it.

To fill up that silence with other thoughts of words is what creates more disturbance. for it points toward this idea of breath. 18-19) This concept of “air” is very important. or begin to speak. Daniel Levitin (2007) describes Miles Davis’ use of space in the following quote: Miles Davis famously described improvisational technique as parallel to the way that Picasso described his use of a canvas: The most critical aspect of the world. To remain in the Unborn is to remain silent.JUST. In Miles’s case. as they are all a part of Indra’s net. So the silence between thoughts is actually the important piece. and from where everything rises. 30 . but the space between objects. individuals will begin to think and escape the experience. both artists said. (pp. and this is what must happen when experiencing reality in its purity. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 39). One must simply breath through the intensity and overwhelming experience of life in the raw. was not the objects themselves. What happens most often is that when the intensity begins to come on. which interrupts the natural flow of breath. They are not the true reality. It is there that one can realize the space from which they rise. the ‘air’ that he placed between one note and the next. The ‘Unborn’ mentioned here is synonymous with sunyata and the silence 30 spoken of before. he described the most important part of his solos as the empty space between notes. observing thoughts as they come and also knowing that they are at least one remove from the emptiness. yet also not separate from it. The Unborn is the pregnant emptiness where everything lies.

the obvious action or non-action will emerge. It is not a possessive knowing but a showing and being that will look as if the individual rides life rather than attempting to force it to bend to its will. providing a life by example. no-thingness. it is a dare to live a true and free life that provides an example for others. sunyata. and those that encountered it came back and lived it. and the only way to relay this is to continue to be no-thing. and the “I” will have vanished. People may judge and condescend and ridicule. and individual builds trust in one’s skill at maintaining awareness to ride. be there. a challenge to begin to experience this place. This concept of encountering and diving into the abyss. it is worth it. the place of 31 absolute insecurity and vulnerability. By riding the wave. void. but not in any sense of worth that one has ever known. The place that no two people will experience the same. so that one might find the strength to be silent and allow one’s life to unfold and flow like the river or the air. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION THE CHALLENGE I offer a dare. only being able to show the way to the door. never being able to fully explain or articulate what it actually is for they know no-thing. It is a challenge to go there.JUST. for once there. It is the challenge of all challenges. however if one truly knows no-thing and can remain silent in the mind as the attacks come. Theories of ways to live life on Earth can be judged by if they can be found reflected in nature. to show that although terrifying to step through. and the concepts spoken of throughout this paper can be 31 . Upon returning one will have the experience of knowing no-thing. and also trust in the wave itself. Surrender to this space that one can not define is the space that most religions are based on. and point towards. and remain there. as few have. etc. the “you”. is not just a human trait.

Through this realization I built trust in the nature of existence. and listen to the sound. It is no longer a caterpillar but is now simply in potential. Experiencing this interconnectedness drew me to the conclusion that every bit of existence is holding every other bit up. and are always supported in the endless groundless net that makes up life. then radical transformation is allowed to occur. it just became my rock and ground within an infinite chaotic universe that I live. Just like daring to venture into the empty void of no-thing. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION 32 seen in the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. making up every node of Indra’s Net. of every glittering jewel as it reflects every other glittering jewel. When a caterpillar builds and retreats into its chrysalis to transform into a butterfly something amazing happens inside.JUST. If one is willing to undergo the dissolving process that will strip one of one’s sense of the self being separate from other. a butterfly will emerge and grow. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. The point is that for radical transformation to occur the caterpillar must die to itself completely dissolving its sense of self in order to transform into the beautiful flying butterfly. and I know that I can trust it. and found strength realized no one is every truly alone. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. the caterpillar is completely dissolved within the chrysalis and becomes no-thing. as it 32 . what must seem to itself in chaotic flux. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. often beyond our wildest dreams. and rather than some sort of attainment. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. and that everyone can trust it if they find the strength to shut the fuck up. From this limbo state in which the once caterpillar. is now simply. I found that this realization was only the beginning. This is a capability of humans as well.

as it reflects every other glittering jewel… 33 33 . as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel. as it reflects every other glittering jewel.JUST. as it reflects every other glittering jewel.

The works of Walt Whitman: The deathbed edition (Vol. On Good Kid. (1968). This is your brain on music: The science of a human obsession. July 14). (October Fromm. John. Los Angeles. N.JUST. Retrieved from http://www. Whitman. W. John Cage about silence [Video File]. (2012). CO: Prajna Press. Interscope. (2007). Sprung. Mervyn. NY: North Point Press. 1984). Boulder. Bitch don’t kill my vibe [Recorded by K. New York. NY: Humanity Books. Lamar]. Waddell. (1996). K. New York. NY: Plume Loy. 2012) 34 Levitin.D.A. Escape from freedom. E. J. existentialism and Buddhism. The unborn: The life and teachings of zen master Bankei. New York. NY: Funk & Wagnalls. (2007. Lack and transcendence: The problem of death and life in psychotherapy.A. 1). 34 . (1968). CA: City [CD]. New York: Avon Books Lamar. Amherst. D. D. (1979). Lucid exposition of the middle way: The essential chapters from the Prasannapada of Candrakirti. SHUT THE FUCK UP: SILENCE AS THE KEY TO LIBERATION References Cage. M. New York.