When Silence Speaks

He is sitting with his arms crossed looking off into the distance. His cream colored long coat and shawl drawn up tight against his shoulders and neck. It must be cold. His gaze is soft yet strong. His brow furrowed with slight wrinkles. He is balding by then, his hair thinning yet still long in curls against his chest. I see him in profile only, the photograph of him taken outdoors in golden light, a clump of autumn foliage against him. Atop his mountain. Silent. Silent for decades. And yet, what he did with that silence is a masterclass in speaking volumes about creating peace in the world. Peace in the body.

I saw him in person several times. Always at breakfast or dinner, when we had retreats at Mt. Madonna and even though we weren’t part of his sangha, it was a blessing to see him taking his meals with the kids and the community, communicating by writing. And whenever I saw him, I would feel tears well up inside my heart, a knowing that I was in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone who imbued grace, wisdom and peace through his presence, his body, without using his voice. Communicating through mystery, writing, meditation, scholarship.

And I bought a photograph of him about 10 years ago, Baba Hari Dass, and whenever I see the photograph, a wave of something intangible, indescribable, moves through my body as it entrains itself to meet his invitation into That. 

He has left his body now. But I have the photograph, and he is training me, my silent yogi mentor, in having discipline, in opening my voice, showing me a new way of moving through the world. ©Kathy Stanley

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