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.
It is spiritual practice 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 at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic.
Ever abiding within and without, overlaid with the mutable patchwork garment we know as this 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,1to name it is to elude its essence. It can only be experienced. The fifteenth century Muslim born saint Kabir wittily observed, “I laugh when I hear the fish in the water is thirsty.”2 This paradox, which asserts that we are forever surrounded by silence yet all the while occluded to its existence, forms the key dilemma in spirituality.
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 manifestations of silence. Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out all the noise of existence. The Jewish mystics refer to God as ayin, nothingness. When we quell the somethingness of our lives, this nothingness emerges. But as long as we dwell in the realm of substance, it remains elusive.
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.”7 The knowing mystic, seized with a searing nondual vision, confidently answers back, “Be silent and know that you, too, are God.”
~John Roger Barrie
there’s nothing left here except quietude….
inquiry for today~ may you notice the hum of sacred ground……
Don’t surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God