Ambassadors of Truth, Messengers from Reality

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No Thursday Evening “Silver Spring Community” Online Program
December 23, 2021

No Friday Evening “Open-to-All” Online Program
December 24, 2021

Dear Still Water Friends,

When Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) was 36 years old, he was pursuing graduate studies in the United States. (He received a Master of Arts in Religion from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in 1963.) He was staying at Princeton University over the 1962 Christmas break and had time to reflect on his developing philosophy of life. This journal entry would years later be translated into English and published in Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962-1966. Thay writes:

In fifteen minutes, it will be midnight. Christmas is almost here. I am awake in this sacred hour writing in my journal. My thoughts flow, and it feels wonderful to pour them onto paper. I’ve written about the spiritual experience that revealed to me how to look and listen with full attention. Such moments might only come once in a lifetime. They appear as ambassadors of truth, messengers from reality. If we’re not mindful. they may pass unnoticed. The secret of Zen masters is discovering the path of return to such moments, and knowing how to pave the way for such moments to arise. The masters know how to use the dazzling light of those moments to illuminate the journey of return, the journey that begins from nowhere and has no destination. Quach Thoai’s poem describes the appearance of a dahlia:

Standing quietly by  the fence,
you smile your wondrous smile.
I am speechless,
and my senses are filled
by the sounds of your beautiful song,
beginningless and endless.
I bow deeply to you.

Do you see? The moment appeared. The curtain was drawn back for a second. and the poet could see. The dahlia is so commonplace that most people do not truly see it. When you can hear its eternal song and see its miraculous smile, it is no longer an ordinary flower. It is an ambassador from the cosmos.Sending warm wishes for all your celebrations as we enter the new year.

Please remember that because of the holidays, the Silver Spring Thursday evening and the Open to All Friday evening programs will not be held during the last two weeks of 2021.

Several upcoming Still Water Events are noted below. You may also be interested in our annual December Letter to the Still Water Community.

Many blessings,

Mitchell Ratner

Upcoming Still Water Events and Program Changes:

  • December 23rd, 24th, 30th and 31st — The Silver Spring Thursday evening and the Open to All Friday evening programs will not be held during the last two weeks of 2021.
  • On Saturday, January 1st, there will be a Still Water New Year’s Day Walk and Celebration at the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. This is a chance to meet with friends and receive your Tao and Pooh oracles for 2022. Please register online through our website.
  •  Saturday, January 8th, the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center will join with the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax for the online Transmission of the  Five Mindfulness TrainingsThe event will begin at 9:00 am and end before noon (Eastern time).  Prior registration is required.
  •  January 20th, the Silver Spring Thursday evening and the Open to All Friday evening program will merge into one Thursday evening group. All practitioners currently registered for the Friday evening group are invited to attend on Thursday evening. (Zoom link for the Thursday night group will be sent to all practitioners currently registered for the Friday evening group.)

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