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the silence will teach you

sayings and artwork by Ivan M. Granger

Important Note: This book is available in electronic format for free. Please dont hesitate to share copies of this book so long as you include this page. A donation of $5 or more is requested if you can comfortably afford it. Donations can be made online at: www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com Checks can be mailed to: Poetry Chaikhana P.O. Box 30486 Bellingham, WA 98228

All text and artwork is copyright 2007 by Ivan M. Granger. Please contact the author for permission to reprint.

About five years ago, several things in my life seemed to converge into a spiritual crisis for me. At the time my wife and I were living on the island of Maui. A friend sent several tapes of David Whyte's talks, a very engaging combination of poetry and personal anecdotes. Although Mr. Whyte lives in the Pacific Northwest, he still retains a wonderful, mellow British accent that pools and ferments in the mind. So, I was driving the country roads of Maui, among cane fields and cow pastures, listening to David Whyte. I also started reading the poetry of Ramprasad. I had never come across poetry like that before, deeply devotional, but filled with exuberance, irony, sometimes playfully petulant, even moments of outrage. Ramprasads songs felt like a full relationship with the Divine. Every emotion, every thought was allowed; not just allowed, but fully utilized upon the spiritual path. Ramprasad's poems were devout and fierce all at once! For me, it was an electrical combination. Also around the same time I came across the work of the Sufi poet Shaykh Abu Said Abil-Kheir. Again, I was stunned by the beauty, and humor, and cutting insight. But in the midst of reading this poetry, I was also going through a personal collapse. I felt as if I had lost all direction. The feeling wasnt new, but this time I was no longer such a young man. My excuses seemed frail. Instead of fighting that lurking despair, something in me found the courage to just surrender. I found myself thinking, maybe this is all I am, maybe this is all my life is. Not bad, but nothing special. It's just as it is. That surrendering created an unexpected and profound spiritual opening in my life. Almost immediately I dropped into a state of deep silence and inexpressible joy.

I started journaling about this transformed awareness and perspective as it quietly unfolded within me, but I soon found that what really wanted to come out was poetry and these short sayings. I now share them with you in the hopes that they carry the same terse truth and quiet power they continue to hold for me. Ivan M. Granger Bellingham, Washington January 2007


All of mysticism comes down to this: to recognize what is already and always there.

You cant think your way to heaven.

to mental chatter it creates.

Be willing to drop all addiction

and the trance

The Divine is experienced by the heart. The intellect, at best, can only trail behind and take notes.

If love does not rule your heart, all activity is just the spinning of wheels.

The goal of the ego is not perfection. Its ultimate goal is to fade away in order to reveal the perfection already present.

The ego itself

is the veil of Maya, Divine Reality.

both hiding and, ultimately, revealing

How can you settle into yourself self-acceptance? without

You can never be separated from your Self, your being, God. The only work there is to do is to become fully aware of this immutable fact.

Build up a tolerance for the unknown. How can you be at home in the immense, mysterious, and formless Self, when you are only at ease with what the mind has defined?


We arent so much individual beings as individual points of perception within one immense being.


Each one of us does not exist except as an empty field in which God meets God. We are the flash of self-recognition that lights the face of the Divine.


moving within God

You are God

experiencing God.


There is a perverse sort of blessing that comes from calamity:

You just might give yourself permission to surrender.


Dont take your joys and suffering personally. We are all of us stories told by God to himself to illuminate himself.


Outwardly, determined effort is necessary. But within, nothing is needed except to yield.


What you lack in natural devotion, make up for with fierceness for the Divine!


Faith is recognizing that we are always, irrevocably being drawn into the Divine Embrace. Grace is what occurs when we stop obstructing that natural process.


Bliss is the vibrant stillness of the full awareness. What we call happiness, on the other hand, is an agitation of the mind followed by a partial release. The giddiness of that release we call happiness -- and then it is gone.


The purpose of spiritual practice

is to intelligently strain your system while giving your awareness the courage to leap into silence.


Real spiritual growth begins with an act of betrayal. You drop the assumptions

that govern the world around you. where others see only a gaping hole. of the highest order.

Watching the world collapse, you see beauty To the rest of the world, this is a betrayal


Stop playing dumb. Just admit to yourself the truth you know (whether or not you have a right to know it). Youre not as lost as you think.


Liberation is already brought about. It is already here.

What is truly essential is to fully engage yourself.


Be greedy for God! Demand all of the Divine One, whole and undivided. Do not be content with the common satisfactions; they are mere slivers of the Eternal Bliss.


When you pray, dont ask for enlightenment or wisdom or divine love. Claim them!

They are yours by right!


Constancy establishes reality.


Simple contentment along the way. unlocks so many doors


The more simple and natural your spiritual efforts, the better. Ultimately, we become what is natural to us.


God inhabits the space between our thoughts. Mental concepts are an attempt to slice reality giving an artificial sense of control. God is that whole reality, undivided. Into neat parcels,


Dive deep into the present.


with the living present, even if you must renounce the past and abandon the future.

Keep faith


Step free from the muddy flow of history.


Psychic stillness is so difficult because it makes us naked to ourselves.

This is why self-acceptance is essential. Otherwise, we never give ourselves permission to be still.


Security and comfort exist only for the ego. The Self is boundless, free! invulnerable,


Dont externalize your power. Dont externalize your delight. Dont externalize your purpose.


Enough deals and half-measures! Hand over everything to that divine ember burning in your chest!


The ego is not a necessity. It is not even a real thing.

The ego is only a bad habit.


Imagination is essential. It is the psychic flexibility to see with new eyes. Imagination can break the trance of the ego.


Make a supreme effort! What are you hoarding all of your energy for?


Holiness is born of love, not discipline. Discipline only increases your capacity to love.


The awakened heart is the true church.


The Mystery is you. The vast, divine Unknown is you.


You can only perceive what you already are.


We become what we love. Everything else is just movement.


We are always doing the best we can imagine. The problem is that we arent always doing the best we CAN. Unleash the imagination!


Even our masks reveal us.


Whatever you seek, you seek God.


The only valid motivation is love -love for God, love for humanity, love for the living Earth. Anything less will fall short of your goal.


Action proceeds from stillness.


We are always floating in the Divine Sea. All you must do at any time is drink!


The path of forgiveness is the path of freedom.

against the egos self-importance.

Forgiveness is a rebellion


Are you one who seeks, or one who finds?


Bliss is not some philosophical idea. It is real, tangible, felt in the body as well as the soul.


The ego is a deep tremor that disrupts the awareness. When the mind is so still that not even the thought of I arises, then divine perception occurs.


Once you have gathered enough silence, silence gathers you.


What we call the ego

is the individuals particular way of not being fully present.


The ego is a tension in the awareness. It is a psychic muscle spasm. When you finally relax out of it, that you are overcome with bliss. the relief is so immense


Find the holy heart of the moment.


You dont acquire enlightenment; you recognize it.


Ask yourself What if reaching enlightenment was no reach at all?


Do that which makes your life holy.


Divine purpose, dharma, moves through you. The only question is whether you pretend to fight it.


Dont strain toward enlightenment. Relax into it.


Deep awakening requires a tremendous journey, but nothing much needs to happen.


A mystic must be supremely pragmatic: Use what works,

whatever opens the heart and fires the spirit.


Knowing God requires no thought. Embracing God requires no grasp. The road to God requires only that you step aside.


Love everyone and everything with the last ounce of your being. Love all until you are shattered by love and only love remains.


Sift your life

until it becomes simply what it is

and you become a thing unnamed.


Death comes

only to claim your story and takes you too

when you cant let go.


Follow the trace of time until the start

into the space of the heart.

collapses with the end


Even through intense suffering the Divine reveals Herself -- exquisitely!


Religion is not a fixed collection of beliefs and rituals. Religion, properly understood, is a living technology for experiencing God.


Through you

the world learns to recognize itself -- as heaven.


Whittle yourself down to the question at your core. Let that empty ache lead you to ecstasy!


Forget about what should be. Discover what is.


There may be actions to take and responsibilities to fulfill, but there is nothing to do.


It takes immense effort to remain distracted.

Stop working so hard to forget this!

Your natural state is bliss.


turns your attention to the Divine, then the Divine turns to you and draws you in.

When every aspect of your life


Ego is the fundamental trance, the seed of all addiction. Find the secret it so desperately hides!


Use yourself up! When you have spent yourself utterly -- that is the moment you seek.


Meditation, prayer, quiet -These train your eyes to see by the inner glow.


If you dont occasionally make a fool of yourself, youre not fully living life.


The Divine Mother loves so unrestrainedly that She fills even our tragedies with blessings.


You live in the most sacred place in the universe: right here, right now.


Each day should be approached with amazement, wonder, gratitude. Afterall, what have you done to earn the inconceivable gift of life?


there is only One. In you and I,

In two,

there are not two, but One. In delusion, in recollection, One. What work remains but to know? One;


Dont mistake information for knowledge. Information is important, but knowledge is the stuff of life.


Understand about sacred texts: A map doesnt mean anything if you dont make the journey.


Gather your history up and carry it into the present moment. Gather your history up, unedited, without fear, and watch it disappear.


Every person: God. Every animal, every plant: God. Everything: God, God! The slightest contact is worship.


Deep spiritual unfolding

may feel unbearably slow, at times painful, terrifying,

-- but what else is worth any effort?


Stop asking, How do I get there from here? Are you fully here? The question is: How do I get here from there?


You are the goal. Where else do you think you should be but where you already are?


Be totally naked. Feel everything. Let the energy flow.

Be fully present.

Accept yourself completely.


Accept others and you will remember your own natural beauty. as they are


Its amazing what you find in the palm of your hand when you finally

release your grip.


Where bliss begins everything else ends.


Your destination is immense,

but very little will fit through the doorway. Pack lightly,

and leave yourself behind.


In this divine game of hide-and-seek stop pretending there is any place to hide.


is a step into the unknown. How can you feel anything but amazement?

Each day, each moment


Everything is an exercise in awareness.


The great burden in life is the false self. Drop it and see how limitless you are.


What is there to do but to be?


Your most secret wound is the doorway.


See -- you are a lamp lost in light.


Love has no opposite. Hate, fear, are not loves opposites; they are its denial.


Insight comes as the punch-line to a drawn-out shaggy dog story. The answer is so obvious its insulting -- then you laugh.


that quietly glows in your chest, the joy that glows with brazen disregard for your lurching tears and laughter.

Find the joy


The renunciate: God alone. The householder: God first. Lesser priorities

lead to disappointment.


Continuously ask: What is right here? What is this sensation? This thought? This emotion?

This experience? Then ask: Who is experiencing it?


Brick by brick

break down the walls

that divide you

from the open Mystery.


That Mystery devastating in its immensity, it whispers:

"I am your very self."


All your loss, hurt and hope -gather them up into a great pure ache until the Beloved has no choice but to kiss your naked heart.


No one gets to heaven

by following the rules -- or breaking them.

Heaven must burst forth from your breast.


To truly know yourself you must drop the desire to be understood by others.


Every sound covers the Silence.

Each form clothes the Formless.

Seek the naked Presence nakedly.


May our eyes see, though our hearts break. May our hearts break, that they may open. May our hearts bleed, that we know life flows through them.


Don't rush.

The spiritual path is an endurance sport.


Unedited memory. Undistracted mind. Unbound identity. Unlimited awareness.


Notice everything!


everyone is an agnostic

Regardless of belief,

until gnosis.


Pure, compassionate, with yourself is the only way.

and devastating honesty


Enlightenment is not what you think.


or ten thousand years,

A year or ten years

what does it matter how long enlightenment takes? It is the only game worth playing.


Maybe the journey's end is just around the corner. Maybe it's right under your feet.


With everything you do,

everywhere you go, be always on the search

for that secret, giddy touch.


Allow yourself to notice

what you are feeling.

Then -- notice yourself feeling. Then -- notice yourself.


You are what you are, not what you think you are.


Use everything:

Joy, fear, success, suffering.

A seeker hasn't the luxury to waste life in pursuit of easy, grand experiences.


Your life needs one crucial ingredient: you!


Everything is an opportunity for awareness.


The purpose of life is awareness.


All objects, all people unzip them.

that tug at your desire:

See what tumbles out.


In your pursuit of God, sometimes -- you must be extreme; always -- you must be supremely balanced.


Let go of the world ...and see what happens to it, ...and see what happens to you.


into the present

It is impossible to settle

without first cultivating contentment.


If you are not intensely dedicated to a high ideal,

then comfort becomes your goal by default and every difficulty becomes a crisis.


Don't ask questions with simple answers.

Ask the questions that bring you face-to-face with the Mystery.


Come to that confrontation with yourself on all sides. Come unarmed. The secret:

Embrace everything you find.


Every person you interact with is within you. Every object you touch is within you. The moment of your enlightenment reconciles the whole world.


When you can't quiet the mind, watch it busily vibrating. Feel the emotional heat that generates. Notice what it is and what it is not.


'Blind faith' is just passive belief. We need active faith, faith that tests itself constantly. We need faith with eyes.


Faith is being in your feet as well as your head. Faith is being -- present.


The goal is to become a non-believer, to abandon belief -- and dogma and hearsay in favor of direct knowing.


The agitations of the mind are addictive. Break that addiction

and see what the still mind sees.


Let every action be a perfect stillness in the heart.


The oceanic silence will do the work. Your only job is to apply just enough thought to give form.


Never confuse innocence with naivet. Naivet must be carefully removed, while innocence is your true nature.


Faith has nothing to do with belief. all of your fears and hopes Faith is surrendering

to the Divine Life flowing through you.


The challenge --

to become a perfect ruin

of utter surrender to the Divine, while remaining poised, clear, and capable.


in every saint and sage.

There is something fierce

from its cage?

How else could they free love


It gives you the strength to stand whole and silent before the vast Mystery.

Don't resent the work.


To be holy is to be, wholly.


The ego departs with great fanfare, leaving you awash in bliss. Drunk and already drawing disciples, will you notice if it tries to return oh so quietly? Will you admit it? What then, o gurus?


You need just this: devotion to the essential.


True contentment will carry you past the wall of words past the blind border of self-rejection into the very present.


There is an inner perfection the same for everyone.

but it's journey is done.

The psyche may go through the motions,


Every empty cup is filled.


in your life, in the world.

Sure, there may be changes worth making --

At the same time, courageously, even foolishly, accept what is.


Is reality broken? Why do you think it will fall apart if you loosen your hold?


Discover the answers

that consume the questions. Find the questions

too big for answers.


Peace and joy -- that's what everyone wants. Fear that twists that natural yearning into the compulsion for security and comfort.


Every ignoble act says --

"Save me from myself!"

Every noble act says the same.


Even asceticism is sensual and potentially a trap. Whatever you experience, Let the senses speak and be still.


Love, compassion is effortless.

The soul is exhausted by the effort to stop this natural outpouring of the living heart.


Everything that exists exists as a thought in the mind. What is that thought-thing?


We don't take the final step. It takes us.


Read these words, but ignore them. It is the silence that will teach you.



Ivan M. Granger lives in Washington state with his wife, Michele. He is the editor of Poetry-Chaikhana.com, an online resource of sacred poetry from around the world.