Inner voices ~ finding the harmony in cacophony

Guan Yin

Guan Yin


Intuition is not critical.
Critical is the mind’s voice.

The master understands
The origin of every voice;
Its intentions,
Its weakness
And strength.

In most of us there is a conflict of voices.
In many a cacophony.
In some a war.

Between the master’s voices
There is peace,
Loving kindness,
Cooperation and collaboration.
There is balance and harmony.

Thus the master is always at peace,
In balance and harmony with herself
And with all the world around her.

While some of us
Lead the rest of us
To war.

The words, from some inner voice, that became Voices began flowing after reading this status message posted by a new Facebook friend:

Intuition is not critical. That is another inner voice that you might want to send packing. 🙂

The first sentence struck me immediately as true. The second, well, intuition regularly proves its value in my day-to-day life. It’s just important to keep a critical eye on that inner voice’s often subtle and potentially misleading insights.  My reply began,

<smile> Yep. Critical is the mind’s voice.

That beginning kinda sparkled and prose continued to flow onto the screen, without much editing along the way, until there was this:

“It’s wise to be understanding of every voice’s origins, and its intentions. In most of us, there is a conflict of voices, in many a cacophony, in some a war. In the master, there is peace, understanding, loving kindness, cooperation and collaboration between the voices. There is balance and harmony. That explains why the master is always at peace, while some of us lead the rest of us to war.”

While discussing this with the author of the original message, it occurred to me that the prose I’d discovered intended to be a poem. It took a fair bit longer to tease the verse from the prose. But Voices feels right.

The poem gave the master a gender she didn’t have in the prose, so I selected Guan Yin to illustrate it. As the Chinese bodhisattva of Compassion & Motherhood, Guan Yin is a Buddhist symbol of unconditional love, and the champion of the unfortunate and those in trouble. Her name means, “observing the cries of the world.” She’s a good bodhisattva to have around when some of us are leading the rest of us to war.

More than that, the way Voices is structured and reads, it has the feel of a chapter in the Dao de Jing. (The feel. I’m not claiming the wisdom!) Daoism strongly inflected Chinese translations of original Buddhist texts, so Guan Yin seems as good a patron as any for this poem.

Guan Yin found me during my bicycle trek across China — a Beijing woman who I became very close to made a gift of a Guan Yin bodhisattva card, like a trading card, of sorts. When she explained who the bodhisattva was and what she represented, it touched me deeply. Guan Yin immediately became something of a patron saint.

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