The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Unfathomable Silence

“I simply followed (my teacher's) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared –Myself, My Teacher, The World and Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.”

Unfathomable silence.  What a concept.  The reason you can’t see the forest for the trees is that the trees aren’t the forest—they grow IN the space of the forest.  To see the forest, you need to perceive the space between them.

In the same way, the real “you” is the space between your thoughts. The one listening to the babble. The roar of the drunken monkeys can drown out the best-ordered, most logical progression of fantastic ideas.

I can only claim to have spent hours, a few minutes at a time, or a few seconds at a time, in that space.  No noise.  No doubt.  Nothing but clarity, and for those moments my life makes perfect sense, and the world makes perfect sense, and I am contented and at peace.

Then…the monkeys act up again. They speak of race, and gender, and money, and thwarted ambition.  And here’s the kicker: every minute I spend thinking about those things is a minute neglecting the Path I’m sworn to follow.

I can’t seem to help it sometime.  I’ll watch a movie, or listen to a conversation, or run into one of my emotional walls, and BAM, suddenly I’m trapped in my external definitions.

There are dangers in going too deeply into the silence, as well.  It is addictive.  No pain, shame, anger, disappointment, or fear.  Just  a sense of connection to the first moment of my life, and a line of light stretching to my last breath.  Not bliss.  Just being. 

Dangerous.  So much more attractive than most of life…but life must be lived.  My son needs my guidance, my daughter needs my hugs, my wife needs my companionship, my creditors need my money, and my friends would like to hear from me from time to time…

So the trick is to walk that tightrope. To engage with the realities of life without being consumed by them.  To peer into the silence and peace…and still be worldly enough to strive to complete your human potential and fulfill your mundane obligations.   That seems to be to be the task at hand…

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