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Q, Quiet-itude

Q, Quiet-itude

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Q Day on the A to Z Blog Challenge

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This last weekend I spent three days at a writing retreat at Green Gulch Gardens and Zen Retreat Center, a piece of paradise crouching behind the adjoining hills of Muir Beach in California. When moving around the property, we did our best to blend into the environment – matte wood and pristine sand paths, organic gardens, soft light through the fog, hushed tones of tenants and visitors to this Buddhist practice center.

Back in the Guest House, we Writing Retreat Rabble-Rousers drank wine, talked over each other and generally revved our systems back into adrenalin mode. All in all, I took much from this weekend – writing comaradarie, new friendships, words on the page, but also an aspiring model of sustained quiet-ability observed in the long-term Green Gulch (can I say) characters.

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My husband chides me for filling every silence with blither, or humming, or when chided: deep sighs.  He’s right. I can’t be quiet. When a few of us arrived the first morning for breakfast in the Green Gulch communal dining hall, two lines of early risers faced each other and a chant was in progress. I accepted a card with the morning blessing and enjoyed the tradition as I enjoy grace before meals. But then came ten minutes of silence. I held my breath through the food gathering, stifling an expanding giggle. Then the calm eating. Focus you eyes on your plate, I told myself, but soon gave in to studying faces and marveling at the composure of others. Cough. Clear the throat. Do not hum. OMG! Excruciating. Finally it was over.

Over the next two days, I studied those walking in silence, sitting in silence, moving about in silence. Some engaged in brief conversation, some smiled in passing. Some held a grimace within. Some had no identifiable connection to any other moving creature. Of course, this is all about me and my projections, my own inability to center myself and be still. I recognized that at the time. And so I arrived before the silent part of every meal, to practice.

Perhaps it was time and familiarity, or becoming just that little bit more still, but I got more connection with these quiet bodies, and more smiles, as I calmed my compulsion to stir up the air. My favorite characters were those who were not walled off from the hubbub of living – the squeaks of a baby, the chatter of passing hikers – but were moving in an attitude of quiet. A Quiet Attitude.

Sunday evening, I did an mental inventory. Rested: check; productive: check; inspired: check. Inner peace: not yet bathed in quietude, but working on a better Quietitude.

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You’re right, there is no English definition of ‘Quietitude’, however, after I wrote this post, I was interested to come across this book by Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

 “The word Quietitude denotes the transcendental serenity and poise of the mind by a process of enlightenment and sublimation.”

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© Robyn T. Murphy TEXT/IMAGE

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