Towards the Silent Heart

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The heart whispers

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa asks if you will listen to the whispers of the heart or stay anchored in mind misery.

Ever got to a stage in life where you feel jaded, drained of energy, without any enjoyment to lighten up your life?  Then face it friend, you are on a treadmill where the daily grind has taken over.  And who or what is responsible?  You are.  You’ve allowed the mind to take over with its demands and desires, its over-riding ideas to do this and that, its drive for more and more – security, comfort, nicknacks, gadgets.  Oh, there is no end to the demands of the mind.

So, we listen to the mind, going where it tells us, doing what it demands.  We ignore how we feel deep down, ignore the need for rest and relaxation, to be lighthearted.  There comes a time where we get to the end of the line, when we’ve had enough, when we are so saturated with the mind and its persistent endeavours to completely control the course of our life that we want to throw it all away and feel fresh and brand new again.

Some opt for an outer change, a holiday, change jobs or homes, rearrange routines to try to unload some of the burden.  You may have tried some or all of this.  But take a look at what is going on.  It’s the same old tired troublemaker in charge, in control, trying to jazz up a life that has gone stale.  The wear and tear mind, fed up with the results of what it has created, is off in a different direction in the search for a pick me up, for a return to the fun it had long ago when life was young and new and a great adventure.

Outer change serves for a while.  We feel somewhat rested and interest is renewed.  Then that same old bugbear takes over again, the wear and tear mind, the know-all mind, the source and cause of all our troubles is back to lead us down the same weary pathway.  And why?  Because it doesn’t know any better.  Concern drives the mind.  Self protection drives the mind.  It’s always busy looking after all the demands of the self.  There is no peace, no joy and little rest while little mind is in charge.  Mind is the ruthless overseer, cracking the whip of pressure, driving the body onwards, subduing any feelings to be otherwise than on the go, go, go.

Until from within, the cry goes out, “Enough of this.”  Tears that act as a temporary release may flow,  then a tug of war may follow. The inner insists on a change of direction but old man mind, knowing nothing else urges onwards in the usual way and clings to everything it is familiar with in spite of the pain. There must come a time when we tire of mind, of the thinking, the doing, the acting, all the busy stuff the mind does in defence of and to expand the self. This is an indication that the heart is beginning to stir, that it wants to be listened to.  The heart speaks not in the language of thoughts and words but with feelings, with longings for an expansive life uncluttered  by the rubbish left by the mind.

Will we listen then, to the whispers of the heart or, will we stay anchored in the mind and the misery it creates?  In life we need both mind as the doer, the action side and the heart as the source of renewal. From the heart comes gentle, caring living, the appreciation of the wonder, the beauty of life, of all the magic moments that unfold from day to day. It’s not that the mind means to mess things up. It’s just lost its way. Like a child lost in the wonderland of time, it runs here, there, everywhere, eager to have everything, to taste what it can – quickly. The heart acts as a counterbalance to all this driving action.  It’s like a rider who pulls on the reins to check the erratic breakaway gallop of a horse.

The trouble is, the mind has been in control for so long.  It gets itself into trouble then when it has had enough it wants to get itself out. Fair enough. But the mind is the troublemaker. Wherever it applies itself, sooner or later it comes to a situation where it is confronted with the results of its own actions.  When it acts from a deep understanding of its own behaviour, all is well.  Understanding then, is the key to right living. This follows from listening, from paying attention to the ways of the mind, to the flow of thinking and feeling, to everything thrown up by the mind.

Not from constant thinking about it, reading and memorising which keeps the mind endlessly preoccupied. The listening that yields understanding cannot be described. It happens when there is natural interest. That is what is so beautiful about it. Mind with its thinking, its pressure and pushing for results doesn’t bring it about. It’s a response from within, when the heart stirs to give a helping hand to a mind caught up in turmoil, torment and confusion.

When the mind has truly had enough, when it sees that it cannot continue along the same channels that lead nowhere special, it yields and comes to a complete standstill.  Not even a thought interferes – then in that moment the heart has a chance to act and help the mind understand.  Should this happen, you’ll know what it is to feel new again, to be young and carefree, lighthearted – all the qualities we long for that somehow we have denied in our intensive efforts to look after the self according to self disposition.

Joseph’s spiritual writing is now available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

 

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There is another side

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa reminds us there is a gentle side of human nature behind the darkness being reflected in today’s world.

 

In the silence of being we discover that which stills every sound –  the sound of breathing, of the heart beating, even the sound of thinking.

The atmosphere of killing fields, of charnel houses, of cities devastated by bombs is something we can do without.  The odour of violent death is not a pleasant one.  There is something

deeply repulsive about it.

Animals being led to slaughter show the fear in their eyes and in the frenzied behaviour of their bodies.  Hasn’t this planet had enough yet?  Must we go on living with such behaviour, reflecting

the violence, the aggressiveness, the selfishness that has been part of our makeup for so long?

We don’t have to be like this.  There is a gentle side to human nature waiting its chance to show what it can do.  It doesn’t need the protection of force, of security screens and protective

devices, of alliances and other means devised by minds riddled by fear and uncertainty.

Behind the darkness of human living, behind the aggressive mask there is indeed another face – gentle, sensitive, caring.  All it needs is a chance to come out and, when humans experience it for

themselves, when they dwell in its nature and know it for what it is, never will they choose to dwell in the darkness of human living ever again.

 

To read more of Joseph’s spiritual writing, visit his Amazon author page.

 


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Deep in the Silence

Life reveals its true meaning when thought ceases, says Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa

The soft plinging of music fills the ears, curiously beautiful, strangely absorbing the attention, lulling the dreamy mind into a state of well-being.  The mood deepens, filling the entire being with its softness.  The mind is still.  All is well.  No drifting movement disturbs the silence of being.  The observer has temporarily vanished, absorbed in a happy state of listening.  A nameless extent takes over.  The mind has entwined lovingly and completely with its own movement, transforming in the process its offspring, the thought, illuminating it with its own light.

All is silence till the swift movement of thought breaks the spell, ending the silence.  Of its own accord it raises wings and spreads across the background drawing attention to itself, bringing into existence the world of the known with its time and troubles. Thought weaves its pattern of change with lightning like rapidity – too swift to be followed by a sluggish mind. Elusive and difficult to pin down – gathering strength with its ability to deceive the observer.  Compelling, this determination by thought to exist, to be the focus of attention, to continue.

Such then is the offspring of silence.  Such is the mystery of silence – that thought must cease to separate itself in appearance before it can join the immensity of the silence.  And only then, when thought glides swiftly to an end does life reveal its true meaning, its beauty and its immeasurable depth of love. So be it.

Joseph’s collected spiritual writing is now available in a series of books from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

You might like to try The Spirit Calls.

The key to higher understanding lies within each of us.

The Spirit Calls is an invitation to venture inwards to discover our true spiritual nature.

For those who care to listen to the still voice of the spirit, a new way of living awaits.


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Enchanting Moments Alone

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa contemplates the still moments that arise to embrace the heart when we seek out quiet times in nature.

Where the surging water ripples and flows

Over the scattered mass of boulders

Spread across the earth

In jumbled disarray

 

Here, far away from the grasping hands

Of a time ridden civilisation,

Sheltered by a surround of tree-covered hills

The placid beat of a loving nature

Softly swirls over the landscape.

 

Soft winds warmed by the sun

Drift in and out of shadowy cover

Caressing gently into movement

Massed branches of green coloured leaves.

 

‘Tis enchantment indeed how the sound of the wind

Blends in with bird calls

And with the incessant chirps

Of a busy insect chorus.

 

Perfume, set adrift by love

Flows from brightly coloured flowers.

A heady, sweet scented aroma

An irresistible lure

Inviting fertilisation.

 

The delightful sounds of water in a hurry

Bubbling, swirling, gurgling

Its watery way

Over, around and between

Trees and upthrust boulders.

 

Where the dampness

Spreads its moistured carpet,

There, the mosses thrive and grow

Softly yielding beneath the naked feet.

 

To sit on a boulder and listen

To the play

Of nature’s musical instruments

Is sheer delight.

 

 

Memories of crowded cities fade

The discordant sounds of production machines

Do not intrude

And the competitive world

Of striving humans

Is temporarily forgotten.

 

The spirit of a loving nature

Advances slowly, into the heart,

Bypassing the mind

And its urgent need to reason.

 

The vista of growing plants,

The surround of unspoilt nature

Stirs a latent sensitivity, deep within.

Silenced by the wonder

The mind is deeply stilled.

 

And out of the heart

A great love comes a-creeping

Caressing, soothing, all embracing

 

The sights and sounds of nature

Vanish mysteriously

Into the depths of love

For a fleeting, delicate moment

Of sheer enchantment.

 

Joseph’s collected spiritual writing is now available in a series of books from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

You might like to try Beside Still Waters. This beautiful collection of essays touches on the universal search for meaning and inspires readers to reach out for the still waters of the spirit.

The human heart longs for peace and harmony. It seeks a restful haven from the relentless busyness of everyday life, drawing us to spend tranquil moments in natural surrounds that offer a brief respite from the hustle and bustle. There is a state of inner stillness, when the endless chatter of the mind has ceased, that a deeper understanding arises. These are the ‘still waters’ that bring new life to mankind, that lay claim to the heart and redirect the mind. These are the waters of peace, love and true togetherness that lift us up to divine heights of being and living.

 


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The wind and the wave

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa says there can only be harmony of movement when wind and wave are in unison.

Self is not easy to deal with. It is not an enemy to be vanquished in battle. It is a motion like a wave on an ocean.

We are the wind that stirs the wave into being. If we like the wave, the way of it, what it does – all is well.  There is no problem.

But if it displeases us, why then, we turn away, or rearrange, discipline or try to change till in our eyes we approve of what we see.

Strange is it not, that the wind that stirs the wave loses touch and lets the wave run free to do what it will, then disapproves of its own creation.

We produce many wavelets of moods, actions, thoughts and feelings that displease us.

Are we then so helpless – we, the wind that stirs the waves into being that we have to cry help to deal with our own waves?

Why does the wave become such a problem when it laps on the shores of time, flowing where it will? Has the wind lost control?

Such agitation transmitted from wind to wave. Surely the wave is the outcome of the variable force of the wind.

Work on the wave if you will;  ignore the wind and the part it plays. Instability will continue to surface.

The wind too must come to order. Only when wind and wave are in unison is there harmony of movement.

Then the wave sparkles in the sunshine, reflecting the light that shines from within.

And the wind?  Well, it’s happy with the outcome.

Joseph’s collected spiritual writing is now available in a series of books from Amazon.com and other online retailers.


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Seeking the great river of life

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa muses on the search for the mainstream that feeds all life.

I have wandered many tributaries in my search for the Great River of Life. But so many of the streams I travelled led only into marshes and swamps. Oh, how I searched for this mainstream,this Great River that feeds all of life.

I have journeyed forwards and backwards, moved in circles that go round and around; wandered the highways and byways, endlessly asking the what fors and whys. Questions – always unanswered – reasons – on the tip of my mind. But the Great River remains elusive, refuses to make itself known.

Demarcation is not for the River, its movement is not for the mind. No sun shines on its surface, no wind ripples in waves. Its course is not watery motion, its silence like that of the grave.Why then does the search continue and the questions continue to fall like leaves from the trees in Autumn, that litter the ground but to die?

In our journey are we then like a river, lost and out on its own, seeking to flow into Greatness, but doomed to wander alone? Why then do we urge for the Greatness, yet wander the streams of the mind; these streams that lead only to deserts – where they dry out, wither and die?

  • Joseph’s Kitchen Table Philosopher series of spiritual writing is available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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 Journey inward to reach home       

Kitchen table philosopher JOSEPH RAFFA contemplates the ways of the mind.

Life has its demands.  These cannot be ignored.  The body has its needs.  These must be met. In living the human expression many pathways beckon.  People do their best to travel those that seemingly offer the best returns. The mind is the determinant, the decider of where to go and what to do.

If the mind is happy, at ease with what is done, all is well and life moves smoothly.  But if uncertainty, resistance and compulsion settle in then the results are not very pleasant at all.

Not many live from moment to moment with a happy heart. Contradiction and choice are the bugbears that unsettle our movement through life, particularly when inner and outer security control the choices we make.  The mind urges for self protection. The self is a complex mix of arising desires and demands.  So many influences and attitudes have lodged in the mind.  The past clouds its judgement.

The expression of choice is influenced by the past, by thinking, which is an attempt to lock the unknown of what to do for the best into a present frame of reference that is agreeable to the mind.  The constant exercise of choice, to do what pleases, what is agreeable or profitable, is what makes living so difficult. Life refuses to be put 100 percent into a personal framework of this kind.

There are always challenges arising that we shy away from and, if face them we must, there is anxiety at the outcome.  So, we venture through life with confidence at times, like timid mice at others.  This cannot change while the self with its complex background is at the helm of human affairs.  The insistence for the demands of the self to be met in every way leads to conflict. To have them denied by others also leads to conflict.

Life has become a push/pull affair, a constant attempt to satisfy and please the self.  There is a persistence in this that is powerful.  It can be held back for a time by discipline, channelled into organised courses for mutual benefit, welded into states, nations or movements to serve greater self interests, but unless every vestige is dug out of the human expression by a faultless understanding, trouble will follow in almost every human endeavour that the mind sets into motion.

The pressures within the self are like a ball held deep under the water.  Relax the hold and it rushes to the surface and goes on its merry way creating mischief wherever it travels.  Mind you,it has a high opinion of its own value.  And it tenaciously clings to everything it has inwardly accumulated – agreeable memories, so many influences that have been absorbed in its journey through life.  These shape its progress and its choices. Accustomed to being how it is, the self is very difficult to deal with.  Being in control of its life, certainly having little understanding of its inner content, of what motivates its actions, it is not in a position to objectively investigate and evaluate its own behaviour.  Nor can it easily clarify its relationship to others, to the outer world, to the society it lives in.

This does not matter if it is not interested in an exploration of the self.  But it sometimes happens that the self sets to and decides to undertake an inner journey through its own nature.  Itwants to understand what is going on beyond its surface extent, beyond the reasons, beyond the beliefs it holds.  And, if it is stubbornly inclined in this direction it begins a learning that continues for as long as it functions in time in the way it knows.  This journey, if it comes to fruition, takes it step by step from the outer it knows, from what it appears to be, through unknown levels that it was not aware of until it lodges without form, substance or illusion, in the heart of the strange Universal nature that is the essence of all things.

In this, it abides with the Eternal.  The little self has come to rest in something vaster and grander.  Now, a new rhythm controls its movement through life.  Choice is exercised in little things, but in living the things that matter choice doesn’t come into it at all.

And the way of it is locked in the hearts and minds of those who travel this way – who make it to the Silent Strangeness.  They are the happy, go lightly people who know what it is to sing thesong of the real and dance in time to heavenly music.  What happens in time merely ruffles the surface.  Their inner serenity remains undisturbed.

The little self that began the journey has come to the end of the line.  And the end of the line is home.

  • Joseph’s collected spiritual writing is now available as The Kitchen Table Philosopher series. It is available in print and digital formats from Amazon.com and other online retailers.