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Friday, February 22, 2019

The Deepest Silence - John Roger Barrie


The eloquence of the deepest silence echoes from the eternal.
Originating there and reverberating through the ripples of time
and space.  It bursts forth in shimmering waves, forming light
and color, shadow, and dimension.  But it remains unchanged.
Never affected by the slightest permutation of outer phenomenon,
silence interweaves the temporal but is forever untouched by it.

Ever abiding within and without, overlaid with the mutable
patchwork garment we know as the visible universe, silence forms
the woof and warp of all things seen and unseen.  Yet at any instant
it is immanent and accessible.  To the mystic, silence is the ground,
the core of reality.  All else relates to and emanates from it.

The deeper elements in all religions point to this silence.  It is God,
it is Buddha; it is Allah.  But, to paraphrase Lao Tzu, to name it
is to elude its essence.  It can only be experienced.

How can we not experience that which always envelops and
permeates us?  Merely affirming its existence will not garner for us
its experiential realization.  It is spiritual practice [like meditation]
that provides us with the means to fine tune our faculties so that we
perceive it for ourselves.  Such practice enables us, in due course,
to experience a blistering, conscious realization of silence that
suffuses the core of our being.

By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to
encounter silence firsthand.  This is the quintessential journey in
life - the inner sojourn.  It is returning to a source long ago forgotten
but often glimpsed unawares.  Recapturing that which flitters on the
periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic.  The mystic
consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt.  With repeated practice
it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable
vitality and boundless, nondual continuity.  But what causes this
gradual revelation?

First we need to discover why we do not experience silence.
The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise.  We are
addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves.  Fuss and commotion,
mental chattering and outer stimulation occupy our minds from
dawn to dusk.  The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in
rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and
opinions.  When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours
every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay.  We
thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would 
otherwise clearly hear.

By intentionally quieting our restless minds and calling a temporary
halt to the random noise - inner and outer - to which we are subject,
we create an environment conducive to the manifestation of silence.
Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out
all the noise of existence.

When constantly engaged at the forefront of our minds, our awareness
restlessly flutters about from thought to thought, sensation to
sensation, thus pushing out silence.  The effort required to break
through the surface waves of the mind forges an inward path
 to the deepest levelsof silence.  When deliberately sustained....this
 inner drilling displaces the obfuscatory debris that clutters the mind
 with a matrix of noise. When all mental ruminations are at last
exhausted, genuine silence emerges.

But, many prefer the comfort of noise, the bustling of crowds, the
constant engagement of new thoughts and interesting repartee.
To embrace silence means splicing off a certain arena of the
familiar and venturing into uncharted territories.  While one
may fruitfully participate in communal spiritual activities, quite
often the deeper stages of this voyage are undertaken by oneself.
To keep the mind occupied with external concerns is to point the
inner compass in an outward direction.  This is the most subtle trap
to which the feeble mind continually succumbs.  For to interact
constantly with the objects of the senses is to eclipse entirely the
realm of silence, which is first experienced within.  When
repeatedly accessed, the decibel level of true silence will deafen
the resolute mystic.

Ever elusive yet all pervading, silence is known by those who take
the leap.  The adventuresome hiker seeks areas untrampled by the
masses.  The successful inner voyager treks to the precipice, and
then, having encountered  the Unknowable, brazenly discards map and
compass and boldly treads onward.  The yearning heart echoes the
cry that seized the Psalmist:
"Be still and know that I am God."

John Roger Barrie
Excerpt from Parabola


~

Photo -
 Northern Lights over Yellow Knife, Western Territories, Canada


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