- Have YOU Found Your Silence?
Most of us are brought up in a world with a clear association between silence and sadness. A moment of silence normally correlates with some traumatic loss, usually of a significant other. One consequence is we may never realise the true nature and power of silence in our life. Within consciousness silence is not an emptiness or nothingness. It is the very ground of our being. The word ‘silence’ is an inadequate description (all words describing aspects of consciousness tend to be inadequate!) of what is our power and potential to create, to manifest, to bring our life…to life.
From Surround Sound to Surround Silence
If you can stop occasionally, and fine tune your perception a little, you will find silence is all around you everywhere. It’s in the soundless valley in the early morning mists. It’s in the stillness of the evening after a long hot summers day. It’s in the calm of the ocean before the coming of the storm. It’s in the café conversation in the pause between opinions. It’s in the deafening noiseless vastness of the desert. And it’s in that awesome panorama from the mountain peak.
Most of us have been touched by such moments when the noise of thought ends and the ‘silence of awe’ begins. There is the remembered silence of the past in childhood memories of hide and seek, and the utter silence required lest we be discovered. There is the projected silence of the future in the possibility of ending the noise of our emotional sufferings. There is the silence of the present moment when the history of yesterday and the mystery of tomorrow are dissolved in the practice of being fully present in the here and now. There is the silence of a city overcome by sleep. And there is the silence of the countryside, when only vines and foxes creep. And if you can rest your attention, on the last peel of the village bell, you can ride the sound as it fades… into silence, and you may come to know the deepest inner peace, of which all meditators do tell! Sweet silence, peaceful silence, the silence that is our inner peace, is the ignored companion of a busy life. here is the dead silence in the passing of the soul from yet another body. There is the muffled silence at the heart of every forest as trees stand tall and thick in a conspiracy to absorb the slightest sound. There is a joyful silence when the mind takes a break from its illusions called ‘I know’ and sees everything exactly as it is, and not by it’s label. Look behind the form and colour in a painting and you may ‘see’ the silence of the canvas that holds the artists creative noise together. Listen closely to the symphony and you will hear pure silence between the notes without which the beauty of such music would be lost. Then become aware of the space between your thoughts. Go into and through that space, and you will emerge into the silence of your being, and be reunited with your power as a master creator.
All creation emerges from silence, is shaped by the power of silence and is moved by the silent power of ‘being’. Why do all the mystics and yogis talk so much about silence? Why do they make so much sound about the soundless state? Because they discover that only in silence can everything that has true and eternal value be known. In silence they see the original and singular cause of all action, and how the seed and roots of all things arise from ‘no thing’. In silence they are reunited with the awareness of the unity of all that is, in all time, and in all space. In silence they know that they can ‘float’ any question out into the ocean of their inner silent space that we call consciousness and know, with absolute unwavering faith, that the answer will return to find them, no matter what may pre-occupy their mind. And they remind us that only when our whole being is ‘in silence’ can our spiritual heart receive and absorb the light and love of ‘the source’. A source that is far beyond beliefs, concepts and names. In that same profoundly silent state, they tell us, we may rediscover and be moved once again by our own dormant benevolence towards all creatures great and small.
Do you know silence? Do you know your own silent self beyond those noisy thinking patterns, beyond the crashing waves of emotion, way beyond the invading, distracting forces of a world that is addicted to sound? It is not another self, this silent self. It is not a separate part of the self, this silent self. It is the self in its original and most natural state of being, they say!
It seems only a few can consciously enter and be in their silent state at will. Their presence is ‘felt’ as they bring their subtle, vibrant fragrance and the hush of their silent being to a noisy world. They say that it is in such an inner space that all is available to the searching soul, where all that we yearn for can be found in full, in an instant? In the silence of our heart everything that we are, and everything that we have that is ‘permanently’ ours, is known and felt to be pure and incorruptible. That ‘everything’ is often known as love, it takes the form of light and it is ‘felt’ as power. All that we have been taught to identify with and pursue in the world is then seen for what it is – filled with illusions and delusions that only serve to sustain our confusions.
And so it is those ‘few’ who encourage us to step away from the world ‘out there’ for a few moments at least, step away from the world that is ‘on our mind’, step away from the world that has shaped the story of our life, step away from our story, step away and take a break from all our worldly desires, relax our day-to-day cleverness, release our every urge to judge another and step into that silent state. It is only there, they promise, that we will find and know our deepest peace. It is only there, they say, that we will see and know that what we call the past, the present and the future are always only ONE.
There are many practices to induce and reintroduce your self to your silence, some easier than others. Here are a few to experiment with.
Find the Space
Day to day life can be like perpetual motion, which always has it’s origins in our thoughts. For many of us we don’t only have occasional ‘trains of thought’ it’s as if our consciousness, and therefore our mind, is an ‘international hub’ with constant arrivals and departures of trains and boats and planes full of thoughts! Stop for a few moments. Observe your thoughts. Notice the space between your thoughts. Rest your awareness within the space and it will open. In those spaces and in behind your thoughts is …silence. It is the very power out of which thoughts are created in almost the same way waves arise out of the ocean.
Symphony of Silence
If you find it hard to find and be aware of the space between your thoughts, practice first with sound. Buy a symphony that is not continuous sound. Listen for and to the spaces between the notes. Concentrate gently. If you lose your concentration come back and start again. Notice how you start to resonate with the soundless moment in the music as it touches a deeper level of your consciousness.
Being a Blank
Gently gaze at a blank canvas or sheet of paper. Imagine it is symbolic of your consciousness, your self. Allow all thoughts to fall off the page of your mind. Allow all feelings to dissolve and slip off the pages of memory. Allow all concerns to disappear from the pages of your imagination. And there you are, blank and yet silent, still and yet profoundly peaceful, fully aware of being fully present without noise.
Ride the Sound
Ring a largish bell once. Allow the sound to fade. Ride the sound with your awareness until it fades into silence. When you arrive, notice your awareness of silence is within you. Notice that in that moment you are silence itself.
Float in Space
Stare up into the night sky. See and feel the stillness of outer space. Vast and unlimited the silence of ‘out there’ is almost deafening. Allow your self to be ‘out there’ and yet be aware that ‘out there’ is ‘in here’ where the inner space of your being is also vast and unlimited, also still and silent…still and silent. Be in space.
Silence the Buzz
Sit comfortably and close our eyes. Imagine that you are walking down a path in a serene forest. Soon you come across a clearing. Walk slowly to centre of the glade and sit down. As if from nowhere, animals surround you. They mean no harm. The larger the animal, the greater the noise of your anxiety. For example, a fleet footed gazelle may represent a work deadline, a roaring lion, trouble within a relationship. On one part of the glade is a beehive. Bees swarm near by, making the humming noise of free floating worry. Gently touch each of the animals. As you do so, they quieten and disappear into the forest. The only sound left is the buzz of the bees. Imagine all your tiny worries one by one entering the hive, until the glade is silent. Your worries are still; your concerns will be dealt with another day. All around you is peace. You are still You are silence.
Question: Why do you think the awareness of silence and the feeling of stillness are so empowering?
Reflection: There is a saying, “If you cannot hear my silence you will not hear my words”. What does this mean? Action: Create Space of Time. In your home create a space, a corner, perhaps a room, that will be your silent space. Then create a regular time you will ‘go to’ and ‘be in’ that space and practice stilling your mind without force and simply being quiet.
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