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Theme: Following light is conversation with silence.

Light slowly reaches lengthening afternoons in Maine.

Flu enters February.

  • Space Shuttle disintegrates with seven lives
  • Security Council at United Nations deliberates military action with Iraq.
  • American administration officials make case for war.
  • Military munitions ready for use.
  • Protestations from Iraq demure.
  • Anti-war feelings around world grow, mull, advance, withdraw, and struggle with the nearness of war.

 Flu insinuates aches and fever into human body, individual and collective. Everybody holds on. Fluids and rest are called for.

 Meetingbrook quiets. Saskia travels state doing workman’s compensation audits for self-insured groups. Shop closes Mondays and Tuesdays for winter. The Practice of Conversation continues Wednesday through Sunday. These gatherings are lovely. Conversation arises as a promise of simplicity much needed.

Utterance and reflective responsive utterance -- what we call conversation -- is what is needed to emerge from univocal and unilateral pronouncement and denial in world politics, national policy, and personal life.

Will we finally come to real conversation as a model of humankind’s willingness and ability to live authentically?

Here are three translations of an excerpt from Goethe's Fairy Tale of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily:


"What is nobler than gold?" asked the King.
"Light," replied the Dragon.
"And what is more vivid than light?" continued the Monarch.
"Speech," said the Serpent.

(--from translation by Thomas Carlyle and R.D. Boylan,
of Goethe's Fairy Tale of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.)

No sooner had the snake beheld this venerable image than the king began to speak and asked:
"Whence comest thou?"
"From the crevices where the gold dwells."
"What is more glorious than gold?" asked the king. "Light," answered the snake.
"What is more refreshing than light?" asked the former.
"Conversation," replied the latter.

(Translator unknown)

Steiner introduced children to Goethe's Fairy Tale of "The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily" because of it's important message. This magical tale tells of a group of people whose world has turned upside down and who must bring about spiritual and social renewal. When the Green Snake is asked by the Gold King, What is more precious than light? she replies, Conversation! We come to life when we really meet one another in true dialogue...
 (-- from Waldorf Home Schooling Website, about "The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily," Hawthorn Press Version)

Conversation, true dialogue, is what is missing in the precipice pronouncements heard daily. It seems most media can only provide shouting match or copy with loud snarl intended to intimidate the unbelieving into agreement with a formulated opinion. Models of reliable renewal and open consideration are hidden behind defensive denial and provocative accusation. Scant are examples of engaged conversation.

In the beginning was the word. And the word emerged from silence. True word and root silence are united in sacredness of conversation.  It is in that sacredness our hearts long for God, each other, all sentient beings, the very earth itself, and all celestial bodies in our vast and unending expanding multiverse.

If so, then faith (that elusive virtue) is trust in abiding sacred resonance between silence and reciprocal response. This interaction is emitted from the word in flesh, in action, in conversation.

We co-respond only when there is faith something worthwhile might emerge. Not to recognize or allow faith and true conversation is to grow brambles around self-importance and the one-view/my-view rule of dictatorship.

“I’ll tell you what to do!” and “I’ll tell you what to think!” are sentences describing the destruction of true faith. 

Brambles should be cut away,
Removing even the sprouts.
Within essence there naturally blooms
A beautiful lotus blossom.
One day there will suddenly appear
An image of light;
When you know that,
You yourself are it.

- Sun Bu-er

Following light is conversation with silence.

It is what we are.


The story is told of one young man coming for instruction and Macarius told him to go to a burial place and insult the dead. After that he was to praise them. The young man did as he was told and when he returned Macarius asked what the dead had answered. The man replied, "nothing," and Macarius then encouraged him to do the same when anyone hurled abuse or flattery on him.

( - about St. Macarius the Elder, January 29) (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)

Recently, after dusk we are in Seal Harbor walking the closed carriage path snow below tall pine below the enormity of heavens with illimitable stars and planets. The four of us walk in silence. Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.

The dead keep silent. Macarius (born about the year 300) counted on that for the lesson at hand. I think of this fact each time I pass or walk in a cemetery. If the dead are with God it is no surprise their silence. Realization of sacred presence evokes a silence of sensory noise. The sacred presence and silence of God is realizing, engaging, and serving this reality in all its forms and emptiness.

This is why some bow. This is why some genuflect. This is why the body hunches, head to ground, hands with palms upraised.

No words convey what the body senses.

Reverence with silence.

In gratitude, we bow to each and all this February,

, Sando , Cesco , Mu-ge
 and all who grace Meetingbrook,

Email (mono@meetingbrook.org) or mail to
Meetingbrook, 50 Bayview St. Camden, Maine 04843.

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