ilie cioara -the silence of the mind

Recently on  was posted the following quote by Osho: 

“Unless a person decides that ‘Whatever the cost, I want just to be myself. Condemned, unaccepted, losing respectability – everything is okay but I cannot pretend anymore to be somebody else’…

“This decision and this declaration – this declaration of freedom, freedom from the weight of the crowd – gives birth to your natural being, to your individuality. Then you don`t need any mask. Then you can be simply yourself, just as you are. And the moment you can be just as you are, there is tremendous peace that passeth understanding.” 

Although I very much like Osho’s writings, when I saw the name Ilie Cioara,  I was reminded of having once read an article about him, and was so impressed by it that I immediately reread it. The writer was deeply affected by the enlightened Romanian mystic Ilie Cioara, and that energy came through in the article.

  Ilie Cioara was born in 1916 and died in 2004. He lived at a time in Eastern Europe when the secret police was everywhere, hence, no freedom. And so Ilie Cioara was mostly in complete isolation for twenty years, occupied with his own way of seeking enlightenment – twenty years by himself – exploring, searching, meditating, discovering.

Petrica Verdes whose life was completely changed by the mystic, was the translator of his books.  Maybe you don’t want to miss what he has to say at

And just for  you, I’ve taken passages about Ilie Cioara from the THE SEER, SHARING SPIRITUAL AWAKENING to the truth of who we really are, a very interesting website by Peter and Pearl Sumner at

“If I had to sum his teaching in one sentence, it would be: when the mind is silent our inner divinity is revealed.

“Witnessing our thoughts is a practice that can be done in any circumstances, throughout our waking hours, 7 days a week. Remembering not to give energy to the mind, knowing that when the mind is resting, a higher energy takes over, and it guides us through flashes of intuitive understanding.

“From the moment you wake up in the morning, until you fall asleep at night, realize you’re not the mind. Just witness it. Whatever you do, whichever the circumstance. You get up, go to the bathroom to brush your teeth — this witnessing continues. You get dressed to go to work, witnessing is there, in the background. You get in the car and start driving, you keep on witnessing.” And this:

” . . . Until the age of 55, when Ilie awakened spiritually, he hadn’t written a single page, and never tried to be a teacher. Because he lived in almost complete isolation, his words have a freshness and a direct simplicity, devoid of any spiritual jargon. Ilie felt the impulse to share his experience and insights using short verses which could give the reader a taste of no-mind. The verses were followed by prose explanations (see example below).
“Most of these writings had to be hidden in the apartment of a friend, until 1990, when the iron curtain fell, so as not to be confiscated by the communist authorities. They describe the practice of ‘Self-knowing’ using all-encompassing Attention. Like Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti etc, his is a simple message of discovering our inner divine nature through the silence of the mind.”

The Silence of the Mind was the first of Ilie Cioara’s books published by to read some of the comments on this site is to get a glimpse of the way the book affects its readers.

With the world needing a balance, ourselves included, it’s helpful to understand that, no matter the situation, we human beings are resilient beyond anything we can imagine. The enlightened Romanian mystic, among others, proved this to be true.

It was a lovely, sunny day in Cuenca today. I hope the same for you wherever you are.

being here

I’m glad I’m alive, I love this world, and though it has much more than its share of tragedy, I’m happy to be here. And I’m going to continue to believe that we humans are born with the capacity to grow through all kinds of experiences, and that we came with support, and a limitless supply of love to distribute. 

This weekend I read quite a few FaceBook postings; some told a story of kind and compassionate people, and other postings would have given me a big headache if I had thought too deeply about what some people were trying to convey. That’s okay, everyone has a right to their own “story.” And everyone has a right to detach from another’s “story.” 

The fact is that the whole day long we’re all thinking numerous thoughts, and those thoughts can send us into a hopeless state, or uplift us . . . depending.

The game of life – sometimes we lose; sometimes we win. Though even in the so-called losing (after we pick ourselves up and put ourselves back together again), I bet many of us would say that it’s still good to be here.


“false evidence appearing real”

Fear – “false evidence appearing real” – could entrench itself within our whole being if we let it. The stories of killings, poverty, attacks, abuses, bombings, muggings, etc., they won’t go away, even for a day. It would be so easy to set up a case for fear. So easy to bring fear into our every day lives. But many of us know that that would serve no purpose, that fear has never worked; it paralyzes. We are all brave souls, so much braver than we realize – I would call us warriors – wise in the way of the world we live in. And we won’t let fear have its way in our lives!

We live in a kind of world where many children, who, during their entire childhood, have experienced killings, rapes, starvation, lack of love, guns placed in their small hands, hate, neighborhoods destroyed by “the enemy.” Why are we surprised when these children become people having hearts of stone, and now able to destroy without blinking an eye? Can it be more obvious that wars don’t work?

The so-called leaders of the world (that’s anyone wielding the kind of power that’s destroying our world, and pretending it’s on our behalf) could put an end to wars (of course they could!), but instead spend billions upon billions upon billions of dollars keeping them going. Is it really all about empty souls lusting for power and money? Is it all about greed? No judging here, simply longing for leaders who are truly for the people.

It’s safe to say that the majority of people are sick and tired of what’s happening, and know in their hearts that there most certainly is a better way. Planet Earth belongs to no one. Though we know there are those who seem to believe that they created and own the universe.

Ahh yes, the world – how wonderful it could be!

RIP, All those who died this weekend in Paris, and all who suffer at the hands of ignorance.
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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I keep in close touch with what happens in the world. And there are times when I feel deeply grieved by the suffering I read about, and wonder why life has to be this way. But I never despair. At those times I go deep, deep into meditation until I reach the very source of love and wisdom that exists in each of us.

“So what I would tell all of you is this: meditate every day, throw yourself into some form of selfless work, and use your sense of suffering to relieve the suffering of others. It is a wonderful gift to be able to give.” – Eknath Easwaran
Read more from the Spring 2015 journal, in which Easwaran gives his views on violence, and how our meditation helps the world, We’re repeating our mantram for the people of Paris.



Murder, mystery, writing

My bedtime stories are murder mysteries. It started with the British writer Dorothy Sayres and her Peter Wimsey series – Lord Peter Wimsey, a debonair style and an easy manner – gracefully transporting a reader back to another era. Because I live in Cuenca, Ecuador, when I reached the last page, I had to rely on a traveler bringing a book into Carolina Bookstore and wanting to exchange it – and hoping that book was written by Dorothy Sayres. One day I almost did a dance around the store when I spied the name Dorothy Sayres; because, yes, there on a bottom shelf was a thick Peter Wimsey hard cover book with a number of short stories. Never mind that I was already carrying three bags of mostly fruit – pineapple, papaya, mangoes, avocadoes, tomatoes, along with a few pounds of onions, I’d no intention of leaving that book behind. It turned out that it was worth the extra burden. I can’t imagine how anyone could write a more gentle murder mystery than Dorothy Sayres did.

So then, the time came to choose another mystery writer. And it was when I visited Otavalo that I came across a small shop with a smattering of books, and only a few written in English. Though there stood out one book by the writer Dorothy Gilman – one book from her Mrs. Pollifax series. I always need a book – not just any book –  so I took a chance on Mrs. Pollifax, and she was a delight. Well, imagine a widow in her sixties, bored with garden clubs, and one day becoming so utterly bored that she somehow manages  to get a job with the CIA. Dorothy Gilman has Mrs. Pollifax traveling around the world (this writer  was a world-wide traveler) as a CIA special agent. And that she has a brown belt in karate adds to her charm. Neat, eh? And so, little by little, I managed to find five Mrs. Pollifax books at Carolina Bookstore in Cuenca. Good bedtime murder mystery reading! But, all things come to an end, and the getting of more Mrs. Pollifax books, or any book by Dorothy Gilman, in Cuenca reached that end.

And in lieu of not finding any more of Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax, I decided on the well-loved and respected murder mystery writer P.D. James., and her Inspector Adam Dalgliesh series – it was time I introduced myself to him. She, P.D. James, is a descriptive writer, and every step of the way, a detailed one, and very quickly the reader gets pulled into Inspector Adam Dagleish’s life and . . . job. P.D. James, I like her style!

I’m now on the hunt for another murder mystery writer – one having that certain indescribable something. Here in Ecuador I’m slowly developing the fine art of patience! – but, when it comes to finding a great murder mystery writer, patience thins quickly!  ; – )



This week I saw a posting on FB of people practicing a form of yoga in a studio. Beautiful red-colored fabrics  were keeping them afloat as they glided from one position to another. It was mesmerizing to watch.

And so now when I pass the scene below with beautiful colored fabrics draped over the edge of this bridge, I finally know that yoga is being practiced across from the river with the great outdoors as the studio. 

Two different backgrounds – indoors or in nature, the energy speaks loudly both ways.

You never know what will be happening in the area of the bridge. Sometimes it’s about music, other days artists set up their paintings and sculptures, and then there are times when it’s all about crafts.

The Rio Tomebamba also has its own way of mesmerizing and, I’m thinking that it lends its energy to those practicing yoga a few steps away, and also to those people who come to enjoy its simple pleasures.

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the river

Often as I walk along the Rio Tomebamba going into El Centro, I reach for my phone to take a picture. You see, the river is ever-changing, and because there’s been a lot of rain every single day during the month of March, the river looks mighty powerful. 

People flock to the river for different reasons . . . there are young lovers head-to-head enjoying each other’s company; a few people sitting on benches facing the river are deep in conversation; some folks are reclining on the grass with a book in their hands; teenagers are happily practicing walking on a rope tied to two trees; there are people simply watching the river while slowly licking an ice cream cone; sometimes people are washing their clothes and placing them neatly out to dry in the sun; children are playing and laughing in the water; bicyclists are pedaling by; always there are people meandering with their dogs; police are strolling along the sidewalk; and across the narrow road from the river are people sitting on their terraces, grateful to have a river view. I pay attention to the activity, noticing that down by the Rio Tomebamba, no one ever seems to be in a hurry. 

  This is a photo of Rio Tomebamba in a more isolated area during a quieter time in February. Do you see a woman relaxing on the edge of the water?

The Rio Tomebamba is an important part of life in Cuenca. As I walk along the river, I sometimes wonder about the people who lived here centuries ago, and what their relationship to this well-loved river was.

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“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it, always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle

mother earth and us


I‘ve been thinking about some of the postings on Facebook and Youtube by people obsessing over the negativity in the world. Many people are churning out videos trying to figure out who exactly is responsible for the mess, and some are asking what can be done to turn things around.

Definitely there are problems on our Planet. Mother Earth is disgusted with the way we have been abusing a beautiful Planet that gives us limitless resources for our well-being – a Planet we are completely dependent on for our lives. It’s insanity, is what Eckhart Tolle and Steve Taylor, and countless other people are saying. Is it true that we’re all insane to allow this to happen? – It does look that way, doesn’t it?

We have opinions about the people we think are responsible for causing the havoc, and we have a right to wonder and to know the who and why of it. Although believing this ‘n that and not having a course of action amounts to, well, – nothing.

There’s a sense of helplessness, even hopelessness, judging from the world-wide anxiety and depression. There are questions needing answers, for instance: There’s an abundance of food, but a lot of it is wasted; this being the case, how do we get it to the great numbers of people starving to death every day? And why so many wars? – the maiming, violence, killings, destruction. And why the ongoing raping of beautiful Mother Earth for the benefit of a few? And why the endless brands of packaged foods in supermarkets causing obesity and sickness? And why not transform our archaic educational system and replace it with what’s really relevant in terms of body mind spirit? – giving all children a better chance of becoming happy, fearless, fully-functioning, creative adults. And why the many trashy magazines on newsstands? And why the medicines produced by Big Pharma having side effects at times worse than the diseases? And why the half-truths that keep us “dumbed down.” And then there’s politics as usual – if there wasn’t so much at stake, it would be laughable. The last I heard, a presidential candidate spends billions of dollars trying to get elected, and we know where that money comes from. Still. . . . 

Many of us have great hope for our Planet, and want to be part of helping it heal. We understand that we are visitors, so to speak, to this Planet, and we will continue on after. So perhaps in lieu of not having a brilliant idea as to how to help save Mother Earth and ourselves, we can turn within and get our strength, courage, peace, fearlessness from a part of us that knows, and when the time comes to take action, we’ll be ready.

It’s been said that we’re much more than what we’ve been taught to believe, and we need to know and remember this because at this time in the world’s history we can’t falter, no more coming up with excuses; we go beyond, we don’t cringe; we accept and work with what’s happening in the world, and we become powerful human beings working together. The answers will come at the right time, and whatever they are, we’ll accept them and work with them.  

 Imagine that!

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“All is always well even when it seems unbelievably unwell.”  – Adyashanti

It’s a fascinating world, and it’s a pleasure and honor to be part of it, eh?

puro café

There is a place in Cuenca where a delicious cup of coffee and home-made baked goods can be enjoyed in a relaxing outdoor setting with an expansive view. It’s at Puro Café located in back of Todos Santos on Calle Larga. And it’s obvious that Sandra, the owner (she comes from Belgium and her pastries are mighty tasty) loves what she does. 

Last week I asked Sandra how she came upon the space, thinking it must have taken a while to find. “No,” she said, “it was the second place I looked at.”  And I thought, “Good for her; it all flows.”


Most people I know order a cup of coffee having milk or cream, cinnamon and chocolate, etc. with a lovely chocolate and cinnamon design added on the top. Lactose intolerant me, orders plain ole Café Americano. Thankfully, Sandra put a stop to that – she prepares Café Americano with chocolate melted in. She said the chocolate won’t melt if it’s more than 55%. And so, the quality of the coffee, the way it’s prepared, along with Ecuador’s well-known chocolate, has nicely elevated Café Americano. 

The next time you’re in Cuenca, Ecuador have a look and a taste.

 The view from Puro Café.

in quito

On a Sunday a few weeks ago I went to the Coffee Bean located at Av. Shyris y Naciones Unidas, Edf. Shyris Park, across from Park Carolina in Quito, Ecuador. It’s a place  where a delicious cup of coffee is guaranteed.

That visit to the Coffee Bean turned into a trip to a part of La Ronda, one of Quito’s oldest neighborhoods. Alexander is the owner of the Coffee Bean, and he suggested that his wife Ekaterina and daughter Maria show me this old section. 

Ekaterina, Maria, Alexander from Moscow

Off we went by taxi. Then, the driver said we’d have to get off (something about a tunnel). Okay, no questions asked. We walked a little, and soon were in front of the beautiful Basilica del Voto Nacional (Basilica of the National Vow). We climbed and climbed and climbed the steps leading to the top of the Basilica. I suspected as we went higher and higher, and as I listened to their conversation, that of all the buildings, the Basilica is the favorite of mother and daughter.

Then ekaterina and Maria pointed to a statute of the Virgin Mary. She is dipicted with the wings of an angel. Can you see it in the distance on that hill? It’s as close as I got. 

Sunday in Quito having breakfast made by Cesar at the Coffee Bean, and then to the top of the Basilica, nice!

With Cesar on the right. He is from Venezuela.

bamboo juice . . . *uh-oh, mistake!

How is it that I’ve never heard of, let alone tasted, bamboo juice before visiting Otovalo? It was by pure accident that I discovered a young woman hacking away at part of a bamboo tree as I passed her shop. I’ve always appreciated all that the bamboo tree gives us. So when I saw them outside adorning the entrance to a shop, I had to double back. A hearty-looking bamboo juicer was directly in front of the shop, and in the back was a counter made of . . . bamboo.


I had no idea what bamboo juice would taste like. So I prepared myself, and, surprise . . . it was DELICIOUS.

The young woman was so friendly. She laughed alot, tried hard to inderstand a gringo, and let me take as many photos as I wanted. As long as I’m in Otavalo, I’m a steady customer.

*uh-oh mistake . . . I’ve been told this is sugar cane and not bamboo. : (

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