Silence with an Aim
By Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine
There was an experience I once had in silence that I have treasured and used. Just as sometimes we go in front of elders to seek blessings, or we go in front of God to seek God's blessings, in the same way I once had a powerful idea come to me, and I chose to keep that idea in front of me, giving it the power of my own good wishes and blessings. Later, I witnessed the very good results that came from this. In the same way, even when I take medicine, I pause for a minute and give my body good wishes so that the medicine will work more effectively and heal and give strength. – Dadi Janki
See the Self. Serve the Self
When we choose to spend an extended period of time in silence, it is useful to have a specific aim for our silence. One aim might be to come to the realization of my own spiritual identity, to know myself as a spiritual being and to see the world with spiritual vision.
There is an inside "eye" with which I can see myself, and an inside intellect with which I can know myself. When I am using this inner eye, I can clearly see what is eternal and what is transitory. In silence I gain an appreciation of what is true, lasting, and creative, and I don't have to labor over what is false, transitory, or negative. This ability to discern between what is eternal and what is transitory allows me to look beneath my surface flaws and reclaim my self-respect.
See the World / Serve the World
There is the tendency to become involved with what is happening in society, with what people are saying and doing, and to think that I will have to do the same. With an extroverted intellect, I focus on the actions and reactions on the world stage. I may begin to devise techniques to respond to the ever-shifting scene of circumstances. When I choose my actions under the influence of outside pressures, I limit my capacity to bring greater benefit.
When I turn within in silence, I access my introverted intellect, which is the conscience. The introverted intellect allows me to look at the external world with x-ray vision. I can see that many of those who call for peace are consumed with conflict. The spiritual vision sees the disconnection in calling for peace from a consciousness of war. When I enter silence with the aim of experiencing peace as my true and innate nature, from this consciousness I then become a force for peace in the world.
My Intention in Silence
The journey into silence begins with solitude. I separate myself from others, but often solitude doesn't immediately bring peace. In solitude I may initially find myself surrounded with hundreds of swirling thoughts and memories, plans and lists that pull me back into the world of sound. The introverted intellect can work as a filter to help me move beyond those swirling thoughts. The things that are not useful to me will flow out and away from me, and the things that are useful to me will take me to a deeper level in silence.
I know I am entering deep silence when I find that the outer world has fallen away and I am in a state of timelessness, of light. In this state of pin-drop silence, I can sense my concentration stabilizing, and I become aware of deeper patterns of the self. I am aware, for instance, that peace is innate in the self. I experience myself as intrinsically nonviolent. This experience is the seed of future action and moves me to trust that I can return to the field of action, expressing this quality in my work and relationships.
There is an absolute, direct link that connects what is happening inside of me to what I am doing on the field of action. If I want to make a difference in the quality of an outcome, it isn't a question of thinking of a better technique. Rather it is a signal to move into silence with the aim of clarifying my intentions, for they are the seeds of action. A pure intention creates a more powerful result.
I came to learn that silence is a very strong power. I compare it with the nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi. Silence amplifies my inner strengths. The power I wielded as President was given to me by the Constitution of Mauritius, but this power I am talking about is personal. I use it first of all to create and then to give expression through my words and actions. When one goes deep inside in search of truth, one becomes more confident and strong, and it shows in one's attitude and behavior. It is this that convinces people. This is what meditation in silence brings to me. -- Cassam Uteem, Mauritius