"Mindfulness and Meditation allow us to open our hearts, relax our bodies, and clear our minds enough to experience the vast, mysterious, sacred reality of life directly. With Practice we come to know for ourselves that eternity is available in each moment.

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Silence is Golden


 “Be still.  Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. 
When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself” 
― Lao Tzu

 "Never miss a good chance to shut up."

― Will Rogers

Sometimes the magic happens when you are sitting alone in silence.  The thin veil dissolves. The Connection is made.  

Sometimes the magic happens when you are meditating with others.  In the silence, the illusion of our fundamental separateness evaporates.   The "I" becomes "we" -- and we know it.

I think it's even sweeter when it happens that way.

I remember one of those times distinctly.  Sitting here now, it seems like it happened in a different world, a long, long time ago.  I guess it was.  The year was 6 B.C.  Six years Before COVID. 

There were fifteen of us gathered to Simply Sit Still during the Wednesday Evening Mindfulness Circle at the Recovery Learning Community's Greenfield Center that night.  As was our Practice, I rang the bell three times and we sat in silent meditation for twenty minutes.

At a certain point, it happened.  It got really quiet.  Really, Really -- Quiet

In the silence,  a Presence emerged.

When I rang the bell to end the meditation and begin the Heart Council, the air was electric.  I knew that what I had just experienced wasn't just a subjective personal event occurring within the confines of my own skull.  I could see it in people's eyes.  

As we went around the Circle to compare notes on what we had each experienced during our meditation, the first person exclaimed, wide-eyed, "you could actually hear the silence!" 

"Yes.  The Silence was deafening!" a second added.  Others nodded.  

The magic had occurred.  In the silence, what my first Zen teacher called the Soundless Sound had emerged as a shared experience.   Whenever that happens, even for a  few moments, our Essential Oneness within the embrace of the One Love becomes less theoretical.   Reality Asserts Itself.  You can feel it in your bones.  In the stillness our shared silence, we know:

                             We are not only in this together -- we are this together!

I love it when that happens.

And yet...

Scurrying Through the Matrix

In a society that places a high value on individualism, competition, speed, achievement,  and acquisition, Simply Sitting Still can be challenging.  We have been conditioned to experience our world through mental and emotional states that manifest a lot of mental activity, a feeling of restless motion -- and, whether we are aware of it or not,  a profound sense of separation 

As the profit motive and the technology of late stage capitalism increasingly captures and commodifies our attention, it's only gotten worse.  With the proliferation of cellphones and video screens, We are bombarded with incessant visual and auditory stimulation.  Our minds are habitually filled with incessant noise and chatter -- inner and outer.  

In today's world, most of us have spent much of our lives being constantly distracted and disconnected from our True Nature. 

The direct experience of what Thich Nhat Hanh calls Interbeing, our fundamental interconnection with one another and the entire Web of Life , is rarely encountered on a conscious level.  Yet it is always there -- always here, more correctly -- in the embrace of what contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and others have called the Eternal Now.

It Takes One to Know One

I think that we each, at least as children, have touched the clear, open, spacious quality of consciousness that characterizes our True Nature.  Many of us may still experience fleeting moments of that Connection -- if we are paying attention.

Yet, maintaining the open heart and clear mind that connects us with the deepest dimensions of our being is easier said than done.  We have to see through layers of conditioning to engage the world in the present moment as it is.  

Meditation is a means to doing just that. 

Yet,  Simply Sitting Still is not easy.  It takes commitment and effort, courage, and a gentle but unrelenting kindness and patience with oneself and others.  Ultimately we have to be clear-minded and open-hearted to experience our Sacred Unity.

This takes Practice.   

Unfortunately, such Practice is still all too rare in this, the richest and most powerful nation on earth.  Yet, as we look at the stark horrors of ceaseless warfare and environmental destruction it's clear: We've got to get our act together as a species.  The future of this planet depends on more folks realizing our Essential Oneness in the web of life -- and acting accordingly.

Thich Nhat Hanh and thousands Meditating in 2012

Although the pandemic served to interrupt the rat race scurry of contemporary living for many, it seems that we've now returned to a new era of "business as usual."  The momentum of centuries of materialism and the glorification of the ego persists. 

Yet, if more and more of us join with others to cultivate our hearts and minds through Practice, we just might be able to muster up the level of kindness, compassion and wisdom that is needed to save this old suffering world.

I can't think of anything more important to do.  Can you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No. ..there is nothing more important than this. It's crucial