Towards the Silent Heart

kitchen table philosophy


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Live free of corruption

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa asks if corruption is endemic to human nature…

 

Corruption has been exposed over the years in sport, politics, science, in fact in most areas where people come together to compete, to achieve, in a bid for power or to accumulate wealth.

Is corruption then, in some form, endemic in the human race?  Why are people in prominent positions prepared to risk all for the dubious returns that corruption offers?

Regardless of good intentions, protective legislation, watch dog committees, nothing seems to halt the movement of corruption, sometime, somewhere. Always it looms as an offering of worthwhile value.  Those who are initially confronted with a choice yield for one reason or another, then they are caught in a web of devious deception from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.

Are we helpless then to halt the tide of its movement?  No.  Humans have always been endowed with an inner capacity, a universal nature, the discovery of which releases a deeper perception of the extent and depth of corruption in the human expression.

In many it may not be the spectacular kind that holds the media attention or brings forth investigative committees, but to individuals learning to live corruption free lives it is of profound importance to understand and eradicate every aspect of corruption that bids to settle in the mind. Not only the forms of corruption that are easily recognised as such but also the lesser ones which society may even accept as being worthwhile behaviour.


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The end of dreaming

 

 

Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa asks what is left of the knowing mind when the dream is ended…

Every concept shattered beyond recall. You, me, God, Void, Ultimate Reality. All projected by the mind as stepping stones to feed its urge for knowledge, its need to relate to something.

What is left now the dream has ended? The creative flow of experience, crystalising through the senses as forms, colours, shapes. Feeling to the touch.  Sight for the eyes. Sound for the ears.  Smells for the nose. A world for the mind.  This is our life.

When all this ceases, what is left for the mind to know? What is left of the knowing mind?

We say “God is left, or the Ultimate, or a Strangeness”. We speak with such certitude of the unmentionable, the unseeable, the unknowable, the unthinkable.

How did we get into this?  What lure is cast our way? We drift along life’s highway, singing or sorrowing as we go.

Then suddenly, a voice speaks out: “Man – you have a spiritual nature.”

We pack our bags and go.  Where? Away from space and time.  Away from mind.

To land where?  Into uncertainty.  Into a vast unknown.

How can we say this?  Because it happens.  Because it is so.

Don’t ask for explanations.  Just go and see what follows.

And if perchance you find the words to express the wonder of that strange unknown, well, good luck to you.  For those before you who dwelt there for a moment, were silenced by its nature, all they would say was “It is”. That’s all.  “It is” or “That I am”.  And perhaps, even this is far too much to say.

If you would like to read more of Joseph’s spiritual writing, it is now available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.


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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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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.

 


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Women exalted

Kitchen table philosopher JOSEPH RAFFA pays tribute to women.

Women are the beautiful people.  They are the tenderness, the warmth, the love of life – even the light of life. They are the music that life plays in the female form.  Life flows into woman in the softest of curves, ever so gently flowing from one part to another.

The spirit of life dances brightly out of sparkling eyes. Its remarkable depth expresses itself in the tears that slowly fall down a rounded cheek, in little drops of water stirred by the deepest of feelings.

Such exquisite features has life moulded in the female face. Such a blending of softness – a delight to behold – framed by a woman’s crowning glory – hair that dances in the wind and shinesin the sunlight. Music the sound of her voice – her walk a rhapsody of movement.

Man, you should be so lucky that God created woman. Your life is as barren as the desert when she is not near, yet ripe, like the sweetest fruit when she shares her love.

She is the mother that carried the seed of life in her womb. She nourished you then, suckled your body at her rounded breast, nursed you in sickness, wiped away your childish tears and comforted you in time of need.

‘She is the music of the universe in female form’

Love’s song echoes like a never ending refrain from everything she is.  She is indeed the music of the universe manifest in female form.  She can be as gentle as a dove yet show the fury of a wounded tiger.  She has a gentle touch yet claws like a cat when aroused.

And, when she finds fullfilment in the highest nature of all, she is love personified, understanding in motion, poetic in expression, wisdom in action.  Naught can match her in tenderness, in softness of nature nor in the capacity to give out beautiful human qualities.

Woman, you stand on the pedestal of my admiration.  With these words I pay you homage as an extension of the mystery and the wonder of life. You delight man in so many ways.

Inspired by the sweetest woman of all – my wife, lover and companion. Always in love with you. Joseph. 3rd March 1992.


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Am I or am I not?

 

Kitchen table philosopher JOSEPH RAFFA urges us to question our ideas of what we are.

Love brings the fresh, vibrant growth, the joyous outpouring of springtime. Love also brings the decay, the fading colours, the dying leaves of autumn. Without death there is no renewal.  Yet mind holds to the past, fearful of letting go and surrounds itself with images.

Look back and you can see.  A long trail of familiar memories rises to greet you. “This is me,” you say, “the core of what I am, myself, my journey.”

I was the child playing here and there – fresh as new spring growth, eager to break out and grow. Absorbed, I grew into every phase that opened out.  Small child into older child.  Older child into adolescent teenager, teenager into adult. I took all this to be what I am.

I see, I feel, I taste.  Life’s experiences are my playing field. What am I without what I see, without this long trail of memories? Am I nothing?  Look back, look now.  And what of tomorrow should I still be here? My friend, my body will still be with me, greeting me as usual.

How the idea of what I am haunts me.  Am I flesh, memories interlinked, accepted and acknowledged? Self here, self there, myself, me – what a torment. What is it in me that holds to substance, to form, to flowing experience? Am I nothing without all this.  Or do I still exist? What do I hold to?  Why do I hold on?  Is it another of thought’s creations, an urgent desire driven by a fear of coming to an end as substance, as form? So that something of what I am continues in some way?

And when I say “I am part of the All, of a Universal Oneness.”  Is this not thought reaching out to establish continuity in the Absolute? There is no home for thought in this – none whatsoever.  It abides in silent contemplation.  There is no establishment in this of thought created separation or conceived existence. Thought is a lesser state, beginning and ending.  A projection from a secret source – itself unknown, its creations known.

How then can one speak of it?  Draw back into the depths of what you are.  Be the unknown for a moment. Then, you will understand.

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