|Sent on:||Thursday, September 11, 2008 5:42 AM|
Our towns and cities are loud with the sounds of perpetual endeavour. The car is much less a servant and more a tyrant, technology less a tool and more a dependency, the clock is less a measure and more our master. People rush from meeting to meeting, from keyboard to console, from shop to cinema with less time than ever to give each other. Increasingly, we fill the urge to escape the pressures that seem to assail us with activity and noise that we believe will relax us, but more often only further distracts our mind and agitates our heart. There comes a point however, when we recognise an inner call that pulls us back towards simplicity. A feeling tugs our heart, and at the core of this feeling is a power more magnetic than anything that industry or city life have to offer ��� the simple healing power of silence.
Silence is that profound aspect of creation that evokes ideas of infinity, the grandeur of our spirit and the possibility of an authentic and deep personal peace. Silence should never be regarded as merely nothingness or emptiness. It is the very ground of creation and the ultimate source of creativity. A composer knows that the silences between the notes are as much a part of the symphony as the notes themselves. The painter begins with both an empty canvas and a quiet mind. It is the unseen silence of the canvas that will hold the artists creative expression together. It is also an unseen and unfelt silence that holds together canvas that is the multidimensional backdrop of our daily lives.
At the heart of the creative beings that we all are, there is a silent and still place from which all that we create arises. Just as the centre of a wheel is still, just as the point on which the spinning top spins is still, and just as the nucleus of the atom around which the electrons travel is still, so the centre of our being is completely still. Stillness is the core of being. Our life both emerges from and revolves around this still and silent point within the 'inner space' of our consciousness. When we are still we are as we originally were and always will be. No thing, just being. In that inner 'seat' there is no movement of thought or feeling, memory or belief. And where there is no movement there is no change, and where there is no change there is no time, only timelessness. When we are in this still state we become aware of our timelessness, our eternity. And there is the deepest peace, the peace of pure being. It is the most profound relaxation. In lives easily lived in the pursuit of 'more', this silent and still point signals us to return, to simply sit and be our 'self'��� and nothing more.
Some say there is a spiritual journey to be made, a process of self transformation, a 'becoming', a movement from a self that is lost and trapped in a noisy and heated world, to a self that 'achieves' it's freedom, coolness and happiness from the world. Others say there is no journey because there is nowhere to go. They say that while human bodies may go from here to there the human spirit, the self, goes nowhere because there is only ever here! Only being, just being, and being is never there, only here. They say that the being is never not being, it just seems otherwise. And that 'seeming' happens when we lose our connection with the core of our being and start believing we are something 'other'! We start believing we are our form and personality. And when we believe we are our physical form we start to travel across horizontal planes, driven by a variety of machines searching for happiness. And when we believe we are a personality we aspire to travel in vertical planes, driven by a vehicle called ambition in search of success. In the process we create noise and heat, agitation and frustration. And they are only tiring. The more we attempt to travel both horizontally and vertically the further we seem from the place of coolness, peace and the stillness at the very centre of our self.
And yet the 'still point' that we are, the centre of our being, is never more than one second and no distance away. It is our 'view', our perception from this quiet place that creates create the illusion that we are no longer there!
Our 'views' are shaped by the many perceptions that we learn to assimilate from the world around us and then recreate in the world within us. Perceptions based on illusions that life is only 'out there', that life is dangerous, that others are a threat, that there is not enough to go around, that time itself is running out. From these and other illusions come the 'distortions' of our creativity into thought forms that we know as fearing, doubting, blaming, attacking and accumulating, to mention only a few! They seem real enough when our 'inner reality' is defined only by our thoughts and feelings, but they are just like clouds that pass before the sun and temporarily block the sun. Losing our self in these thoughts and feelings is like the sun losing itself in the clouds and believing it is the clouds. It is a huge and common mistake we all learn to make, and it seems to disconnect us from the radiance of our own being and from the peace that surpasses all other pleasures. But just as the morning sun rises to burn through the clouds and evaporate the mists, simply by shinning directly into them, so we too can do the same to the clouds of our illusions and the swirling mists of our distorted thoughts and feelings. We only have step back from them, rise above them, find our seat in that still and silent point of our being, and observe, watch, see. And as we do, like the sun, the natural radiant light of our being, of our consciousness, evaporates the illusions of fear, the misperceptions of threats and those beliefs about scarcity and danger.
Being quiet and sitting at the still point of our being also puts the rushing world around us into a new perspective. It is seen for what it is, a gathering of creative beings who have mostly learned to believe that 'important' things must be done today in order to ensure tomorrow will be OK. Trapped in an attempt to 'secure the future' the power and the beauty of 'the moment' is missed. The present is not only lost but eventually avoided. We learn to live in a projection of tomorrow and we miss the reality of now. Peace seems lost, love is suppressed and happiness delayed, because although good things can be momentarily anticipated, ultimately only fear inhabits an imagined future.
But with the clouds of illusion burned off, the view from the centre, from that silent, still point of being, is quite different. It reveals that all is always well, all is as it should be, at every moment. Everything is happening exactly as it's meant to happen, everywhere and at every moment. The drama of light and sound, triumph and disaster, perfection and mediocrity that we know as 'life', is appearing on the canvas around us exactly as it should. From this awareness we innately know that 'creation' is unfolding as it is, and needs no one to change it, fix it or improve it. With judgment, criticism and condemnation the main thought forms that have separated us from the still point of our centre now gone, we are reunited with the true peace of our being. From this perspective the actions of thinking and doing are no longer shaped and driven by present frustrations, personal agendas or the possibility of future insecurity. The fear that drives the impulse to grasp and the survivalist mindset is also gone, replaced by an understanding that knows all is well, all is well���even when all around seems chaotic. The energy that is our contribution to the 'collective canvas' of life ceases to be agitated and fearful, but is peaceful and loving, caring and nurturing. The reality of others suffering is not ignored but met with compassion, and a quiet commitment to help them free their 'self' from their illusions, and return to their 'seat'.
So how do you 'be' in this inner space? In truth the question is irrelevant because you are already there. And when you realise that you could not 'be' anywhere else ��� you'll laugh. In the meantime it 'seems' you are far from being silent and still, far from being able to view the changing scenes of life around you with complete equanimity and equipoise, far from knowing the immense creative power that can come through the point of being that you are. So until that awareness is fully restored and present, until you are fully present to your self, until you are no longer under the illusion of needing to go 'there' and you are fully 'here' again, here is a simple practice that may ease your way back to where you never left!
Sit somewhere quietly for a moment. Watch your thoughts. Notice there is you, and there are thoughts. Notice that as thoughts pass through your awareness that there are small gaps between each thought, like gaps between the carriages of a train. Now watch the gaps. As you do, notice how the gaps expand, and your thoughts become slower and slower. Notice within the gaps there is nothing, and that nothingness is still and silent. Notice the silence and allow it to expand. Notice there is no separation between you and the silence. Notice how 'still' you are, in the expanding silence. Notice how you lose awareness of time passing in the silent stillness of your being. Notice you are just being.
Question: What is the difference between being and doing?
Reflection: Nothing real changes - true or false?
Action: Practice 'noticing', as in the final paragraph above, for three minutes twice a day for the next week.