PODCAST

The Contemplative Edge

Rashmir Balasubramaniam

Where do you go to slow down, listen to, reflect on and discuss the deeper questions of life? Each season will consist of short reflective episodes on the season theme so you can listen and let yourself be drawn into deeper inquiry, presence and stillness. You'll come away with a deeper connection to your own wisdom and knowing, greater comfort with being in a space of not knowing, more inspired and open to new ideas and different ways of seeing the world and being in the world, and more ready to experience the joy of creative flow. Take the conversation further by joining us in The Contemplative Edge Community, where there will be additional private podcasts and resources to help you deepen your reflective and contemplative practice and how it informs your work: https://community.contemplative-edge.com

Play Trailer
Introducing the Contemplative Edge
If silence is spiritual, is there a role for it in our secular world?
Is silence spiritual? In the third and final part of a group discussion on silence, we dive deeper into silence and the boundaries between spiritual and secular silence in society. Timestamps to key points [02:00] - Silence as the “presence of everything”, as spiritual [02:20] - Nour on there being nothing before anything, on there being silence before any noise or sound, and God as silence [03:00] - Everything being created by sound from nothing seems common to all traditions [03:40] - Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Deep Listening who listens deeply to the sounds of the world and has the capacity to utter five essential sounds that heal the world [04:07] - “If you can find silence within yourself, you can hear these sounds” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise [04:15] - The 5 essential sounds [04:46] - Science has the big bang, a sound, as the beginning, and recognises that everything is frequency, including sound [05:57] - What is the role of silence in a secular society? [06:13] - Malik on silence as relational, and silence as essential to communication and connection [07:23] - Gary on the word in every tradition, there was silence in every tradition until a word is spoken. It’s the same with people. [08:40] - Nour on how in silence we can allow the divine to come through us, and the importance of listening to our own silence [09:03] - A story of a Quaker wedding, which is mostly in silence [10:17] - The simplicity and profundity of another Quaker wedding, which enabled more connection to the bride and groom [11:00] - Being a part of everything and awe struck in silence [11:53] - An Islamic saint’s wisdom: “Only speak if your words are going to be more beautiful than silence" [12:33] - Every change first starts with awareness Guests Gary Gruber lives in Southern Arizona, USA and is a long time educator, active blogger, participates in a variety of groups working on spiritual development, change in organisations and growth in people. His blog can be found here: https://garygruber.com/ (https://garygruber.com/), and he can be found on twitter @garyrgruber Malik has lived in many countries and is currently lives and works in NY, USA. Nourallah Chakroun lives in Cornwall, UK and is the founder of a women's group based in Truro, Cornwall called Inspiring Women Network (IWN). IWN can be found on twitter @InspiringWomenN and https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/ (https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/)  Resources/further reading Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh, available wherever books are sold and lent
Apr 24 2021
14 mins
Barriers and benefits of enabling more silence in our lives
Given that silence is as essential as breathing, why is it so hard to prioritise? In part 2 of this group discussion on silence, we explore the barriers and benefits of consciously taking time for silence in our busy lives. Timestamps to key points [00:55] - Introduction and recap of part 1 [02:00] - Why when silence is so essential, is it so difficult to prioritise and spend time in? [02:07] - Malik on the impact of technology and the lack of role models [02:50] - Gary on it not being hard, though we make it hard with conscious or unconscious obstacles. "It's as easy as breathing" [04:01] - Nour on the challenge being silencing thoughts and an overactive mind  [04:36] - Silence and stillness are very connected; sitting in silence is just the first layer [05:17] - Silence as a neutral gear to disengage the mind [06:14] - Silence as a kind of fasting, i.e. abstaining from noise. To reap the full benefits abstaining alone is not enough [06:47] - Nour on having had a taste of silence and wanting more [07:19] - We don’t engage in natural, daily functions such as breathing and eating, and silence, consciously and mindfully? [08:29] - Malik on the power of pre-dawn silence to think [08:45] - Nour on sitting in early morning post-prayer silence and walking in the woods, and the clarity and creativity that comes from it [10:00] - Fears and doubts can also creep in  [10:30] - Gary on being out in nature and connected to and close to the source of being, cognisant of being a part of creation itself  [12:00] - The benefits of silence being experienced in early morning silence [13:15] - Recognising that silence, if it is "the presence of everything" includes the difficult and challenging Guests Malik has lived in many countries and is currently lives and works in NY, USA. Nourallah Chakroun lives in Cornwall, UK and is the founder of a women's group based in Truro, Cornwall called Inspiring Women Network (IWN). IWN can be found on twitter @InspiringWomenN and https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/ (https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/)  Gary Gruber lives in Southern Arizona, USA and is a long time educator, active blogger, participates in a variety of groups working on spiritual development, change in organisations and growth in people. His blog can be found here: https://garygruber.com/ (https://garygruber.com/), and he can be found on twitter @garyrgruber
Apr 23 2021
15 mins
Other People's Experiences of and Relationships to Silence
How do different people experience and relate to silence? In part 1 of this group discussion on silence, we hear when the last time people took time in silence was, what their relationship to silence is and how it has shifted and changed over time. Timestamps to key points [01:24] - Introduction to the group guests [02:20] - Nour's last time in silence, post morning prayers [03:15] - Malik's last time in silence, Shavasana at the end of yoga [04:00] - Gary’s last time in silence, morning prayers / daily practice [05:00] - Regularly quieting the mind by taking a few moments in silence [06:24] - Pre- and post- pandemic challenges [06:50] - A silent moment that was golden [07:49] - Gary's relationships with silence: spiritual food, life force that nourishes, sustains, lift ups, undergirds and excites [09:56] - Malik’s thinking about silence has shifted from a noise level to a state of mind [10:44] - Nour’s relationship with silence has shifted and deepened from an external relationship to an internal and spiritual one [12:23] - What is your relationship with silence, and how has it changed over the course of your life, over the last few months, and as a result of listening to this series on silence? Guests Gary Gruber lives in Southern Arizona, USA and is a long time educator, active blogger and participates in a variety of groups working on spiritual development, change in organisations and growth in people. His blog can be found here: https://garygruber.com/ (https://garygruber.com/), and he can be found on twitter @garyrgruber. Malik has lived in many countries and is currently lives and works in NY, USA. Nour Chakroun lives in Cornwall, UK and is the founder of a women's group based in Truro, Cornwall called Inspiring Women Network (IWN). IWN can be found https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/ (https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/)
Apr 22 2021
13 mins
Silence and the Contemplative Edge
What does silence have to do with living and working at the contemplative edge? This episode brings together a number of explorations and themes from season 1 on silence, and looks in particular at the connection to contemplation and creation.  Let me know how your relationship with silence is shifting by tagging me on twitter @rashmir, #contemplativeedge Timestamps to key points [00:56] - A brief recap of this season on silence [02:53] - Recommended resources for further reading and reflection [03:22] - Life happens in the silences - a poem by Andō [03:58] - Listener feedback [04:44] - Slowing down is a key to inner silence [06:36] - Mindfulness as a key practice [06:57] - Definition of the Contemplative Edge [07:57] - Slowing, silence, stillness and spaciousness and contemplative practice [09:18] - Gordon Hempton silence quote [10:35] - The creative relationship to silence and the impulse to create [11:34] - What if silence is the ultimate stimulus? [11:44] - Silence is key to creative and contemplative practice, and it is also an outcome [11:55] - Nature, wonder and awe and their relationship to inner silence, mystery and not knowing [12:42] - The deeper vein of silence and it’s relationship to sensing what is alive and what is emergent [13:16] - Richard Rohr on silence as a living primordial presence [14:12] - Silence is essential to living and working at the contemplative edge [14:17] - Silence is a sort of wholeness, a sort of knowing, and perhaps also a deeper plane of love Resources/further reading Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich That Hanh, available wherever books are sold and lent Andō: Experience a world of silence, sound, and words, https://ando.life/ (https://ando.life/)  Richard Rohr on SIlence, the Great Teacher: https://cac.org/silence-the-great-teacher-2020-01-07/ (https://cac.org/silence-the-great-teacher-2020-01-07/)
Apr 14 2021
15 mins
The paradox of silence and natureHow comfortable are you with silence in relationships?The power of silence
In this episode, we explore the power and benefits of spending time in silence. Timestamps to key points [01:26] - Florence Nightingale quote [01:48] - The etymology of “noise” [02:23] - What the research on silence says [05:10] - What do you think are the benefits of silence, when defined more broadly? [05:25] - Reflect on the benefits of silence that you have experienced and noticed in others? [06:10] - The benefits and value of silence at a personal level [07:57] - A personal experience of silence and stillness [08:46] - Silence enables us to know ourselves at a deeper level [09:23] - David Whyte quote on silence and essence Resources/further reading This Is Your Brain on Silence by Daniel A. Gross, published in Nautilus: http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/this-is-your-brain-on-silence (http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/this-is-your-brain-on-silence)  WHO work on noise pollution in Europe: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/noise/noise (https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/noise/noise)  The power of silence: 10 benefits of cultivating peace and quiet according by Meena Azzollini published on http://happiness.com (happiness.com): https://www.happiness.com/magazine/health-body/the-power-of-silence-cultivating-peace/ (https://www.happiness.com/magazine/health-body/the-power-of-silence-cultivating-peace/)  If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review at https://lovethepodcast.com/contemplative-edge (https://lovethepodcast.com/contemplative-edge) because I'd love to hear what insights you’ve had and whether it will change how much silence you build into your day. In upcoming episodes, we’ll explore the silence in relationships, the paradox of silence and nature, and ways to make more use of silence.
Mar 22 2021
11 mins
What is your relationship to silence?
In this episode, we explore your relationship to silence and ask why many people are afraid of silence? (If you need more time to reflect after any question, pause the podcast for a moment or two.) Timestamps to key points [01:48] - A working definition of silence [02:26] - Guided reflection questions begin [03:43] - What the research indicates about studying with music on [06:53] - Is your choice of silence or background noise a conscious one? [08:42] - Blaise Pascal: "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone" [09:15] - Your challenge if you choose to accept [10:22] - The challenges that crop up when sitting silently [12:30] - The fear of silence [13:00] - The importance of inner silence Key points Have you examined your relationship to silence?  Reflect on your relationship to silence while being guided with reflective questions Music has been shown to have mixed effects on studying Much background noise is automatic rather than consciously chosen> Are you making conscious choices about your soundscapes? Why do most people resist sitting alone silently? Do you? The importance of inner silence If you enjoyed this episode and want to listen to the rest of the season, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or via https://www.contemplative-edge.com/listen (https://www.contemplative-edge.com/listen), and do https://www.contemplative-edge.com/episode/is-silence-simply-the-absence-of-sound (share this episode) with anyone you know that might enjoy it.  And please leave https://lovethepodcast.com/contemplative-edge (a rating and review here) because I'd love for others to see what insights you’ve had as a result of the show and how you're applying them in your life and work. In upcoming episodes, we’ll explore the power of silence, the paradox of silence and nature, and ways to make more use of silence.
Mar 16 2021
15 mins
Is silence simply the absence of sound?
In this episode, we explore what silence is. Is it simply the absence of sound? Do different silences spaces have different soundscapes? Is there a connection between the tones of silence and how they make us feel? And if silence isn't the absence of sound, what is it? Timestamps to key points [01:16] - Introduction [01:50] - Ilya Kaminsky quote “silence is an invention of the hearing” [02:52] - The soundscapes of silence spaces [06:20] - Listen and silent are anagrams of each other [06:59] - Exterior vs interior silence [07:32] - Paul Goodman’s nine types of silence  [10:34] - A simple silent challenge [11:03] - An altogether different definition of silence by Gordon Hempton Key points/questions Is silence the absence of sound? Is silence an invention of the hearing? Different silence spaces have different soundscapes Silence has different tones and felt effects True silence may be an interior condition There are different types of silence, Paul Goodman delineated nine types of silence Hurrying and rushing are inherently devoid of silence "Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything” ~ Gordon Hempton What do you think? What is silence? If you enjoyed this episode and want to listen to the rest of the series, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or via https://www.contemplative-edge.com/listen (https://www.contemplative-edge.com/listen), and do https://www.contemplative-edge.com/episode/is-silence-simply-the-absence-of-sound (share this episode) with anyone you know that might enjoy it.  In upcoming episodes, we’ll explore silence in nature, the power and potency of silence, our fear of silence and ways to experience, deepen and make use of silence.
Mar 14 2021
12 mins
Introducing the Contemplative Edge