Sep 112011

Not to talk, not to explain yourself, not verbalising your emotions, might easily seem arrogant. Or, for those experienced with therapy, indicate an inhibited character.

Not to talk, I believe, is a mercy.

These days I read an article about a New York based psychotherapist, who continued working through the whole day of September 11th, 2001. The article describes how she and her patients talked and talked, as if to mure themselves with words. Did it bring them any relieve in the face of the disaster?

“It was a total disavowal”, the therapist confessed.

What drives us to build a second world of words and ideas, instead of facing the unbearable (and often also instead of facing the bearable, which we just want to look a bit nicer)?

I remember a scene from Akira Kurosawa’s movie Rhapsodie in August, in which two old ladies, who both survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, met for a coup of tea without talking a word. This not talking made a great impression on the grandchildren of one of the ladies, as well as on myself.

Today’s September 11th is exactly six months after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Sharing intense time, silently, is what we also do during Zazen. At times, for some of us, while bearing the unbearable.