The Murmuring Brook

January 24, 2013 § 24 Comments

We say, “Step by step I stop the sound of the murmuring brook.”  When you walk along the brook you will hear the water running.  The sound is continuous but you must be able to stop it if you want to stop it.  This is freedom; this is renunciation.”

Shunryu Suzuki


Sitting alone in the dead quiet room, I hear the bells.

I am blessed by an affliction that puts a ringing sound in my consciousness ceaselessly.  When I listen for it, it is always there.

Sometimes it goes away.  But it doesn’t really go away because the very moment that I think of it, the sound is there.  It- the sound- is always there.  But like the sound of the murmuring brook, I can stop it.

To stop the ceaseless tolling of those bells in my mind, I need to do only one simple thing- stop listening, stop looking, stop doing.  Just stop.  And be only and simply in the moment.  In full acceptance of all that I am and all that is.

My affliction is like a murmuring brook I walk beside constantly.  Always there.  Ready to receive my renunciation.  Ready to leave me in my freedom.

Such a blessing.

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§ 24 Responses to The Murmuring Brook

  • […] Ross @ Only Here Only Now with word zen magic titled The Murmuring Brook: ”To stop the ceaseless tolling of those bells in my mind, I need to do only […]

  • As always, your post is inspiring. I am not one who suffers this ringing, but there is a voice that often bothers me, and in those moments when I am just being, that voice goes away. Sweetness and acceptance.

  • chrisbkm says:

    Last night I sat in the quiet semi-dark, listening to my breathing. My glasses were on a table beside me, so my aging vision was blunted, to say the least. I smiled at the blurred vision (flowers of light on glass) – and the murmuring ring that is constantly in my ears. I thought something about personal landscape. I can’t say that I’ve ever thought positively about the ringing, I just accept it… but, last night I owned it a little more than usual. And then to read your post first thing this morning.
    How timely. Thanks very much for this Tom.


  • dadirri7 says:

    serenity flows from your words … i have the same affliction but here it is masked by the constant sound of the sea … although i have to stop and listen to hear these ever-present sounds they readily appear …then fade again as attention moves elsewhere moment by moment 🙂 thanks for reminding me of the blessing!!!

    • Thomas Ross says:


      If I never received another kind word about my writing, I would have received enough just in the first passage of your message- “serenity flows from your words.” Knowing that you felt that way brings me so much happiness.

      Thank you, Christine, for sharing that feeling with me.


  • Yes, stopping the brook, stopping the bells, just stopping and being – breath in, breath out, and a pause in the middle of nowhere. 🙂 Thank you, Thomas.

  • Anne says:

    Tom, I love your writing. I have never looked upon an affliction as a blessing before I read this post. I can see in my own life now that an affliction can and indeed has offered many blessings! Thank you for this insightful piece of writing. I hear the brook burbling in the background. Thank you. Sending you peace light and healing.



    • DIRNDL SKIRT says:

      I can only agree with Anne here. Peace.

      • Thomas Ross says:

        Thank you, Anne and Sharon.

        I do honestly understand this to be a blessing. What might seem like a door closing- no more pure silence for me- can be experienced as a blessing- now, I have a way to really know that my way of being is truly centered. The bells stop ringing.

        This is not some made-up, pretend happy rationalization. I do feel this way. And feeling this way makes me feel stronger, more the boss of myself and my space. A blessing, for sure.

        As you are each a blessing in my life with your constant and kind support.

        Thank you.


  • I could actually hear what you were saying. Part of the drawings I create are from these kinds of moments. They are such a blessing. 🙂

  • mimijk says:

    Magnificent Tom – a blessing to feel these words as I read them

  • brendamarroy says:

    Beautifully said by one of my favorite people. Thank you and big hugs. Brenda

  • Perfect timing for this one Thomas. I know now to look for things that force me to be in the moment, because I’m not that good at getting there on my own. Singing, skiing, and travelling to far-away lands.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      You seem to be doing a very good job of putting yourself into your moments and living with great presence and will.

      Wishing you a safe journey.



  • Cassie says:

    I hope I find you well today. It is good that you have in a sense befriended The Murmuring Brook and learned to master your response to it. I hope that inspires any of your readers who suffer from a similar affliction. Those who are not able to cope in the way you do might be advised to seek medical advice as I think there are many things which can reduce the discomfort of tinnitus if not completely cure it..

    • Thomas Ross says:


      By all means, I hope that folks will seek support from all sources. I am so happy to be able to feel this as a blessing- as a way to know that I am able to find my freedom.

      Thanks for staying in touch. A gift to me.


  • Beautiful. Quietness is where we can truly come into the full acceptance of what we are and what truly is… Much love. ~Sheri

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