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  • Susan Q Brown

"Whatever is full is quiet."


Know from the rivers in clefts and in crevices: those in small channels flow noisily, the great flow silent. Whatever’s not full makes noise. Whatever is full is quiet. The Buddha [From the Sutta Nipata]

The light this morning illuminating: my little garden, the side hallway, the air itself was so full that I found myself trying to catch the light in my imagination, like putting a firefly in a jar, but the light was too full, too everywhere for me to grasp it - passing through me easily as a ghost passes through walls - and I flowed away from it while my barefoot feet quickly moved along the 200 year old floorboards of our mudroom.

The light was full. I was too noisy to feel full. Like a small channel of a river flowing in clefts and crevices I was in many places at once thinking about being half dressed, thinking about needing to pee, thinking about coffee, thinking about being outside when I was inside. And in the midst of this mental noise, somehow I entered the light and all got quiet. Exquisite quiet. Stillness so pervasive it has physicality, it breathes you, and every cell is accounted for yet disappears, joyful.

When that happens, when noisy becomes quiet ... even for a few seconds ... afterwards the fullness follows you, and the day becomes a mixture of noises that are buoyed by quiet.

The quiet fullness is light that houses noisy physical delight, and noisy physical delight is like child's play ... dressing up and pretending, role-playing, because like a child we mimic what we perceive as light or dark or in-between and noisily play with it, and sometimes grown-ups think they are quiet as they make-believe. Forgetting that "whatever is full is quiet."


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© 2020 Susan Q Brown​. All Rights Reserved.

American Contemporary Painter

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