Sounds of Si­lence

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

Spir­i­tual the­ory and prac­tice have a deep legacy of si­lence. There is phys­i­o­log­i­cal si­lence, and self-stilled si­lence. Phys­i­o­log­i­cal si­lence, a func­tion of our body-mind com­plex, is the one ex­pe­ri­enced by our au­di­tory nerves when we place our palms over our ears and shut out sound. It is a si­lence many of us badly need to be able to think clearly, or even to sleep.

The ra­tio­nal mind can of­ten play a role in this si­lence, lead­ing the process where one be­comes silent or shuts out sound. For in­stance, we can drift away even in a noisy en­vi­ron­ment, shut­ting out sound. Self-stilled si­lence is the si­lence of be­ing, as op­posed to be­com­ing. It is not a si­lence to be ex­pe­ri­enced, but the si­lence of the ex­pe­ri­encer, the wit­ness. It is the si­lence of our un­con­di­tioned self, a si­lence that ex­ceeds the ego and reaches into the pure field of con­scious­ness.

It ex­ists all the time within us, the an­swer of the Uni­verse to all the sounds we gen­er­ate. It is in this si­lence that the world re­cedes into the back­ground or van­ishes al­to­gether and the Uni­verse within us emerges.

Self-stilled si­lence is rooted in be­ing in the present, in re­al­is­ing the pure po­ten­tial of the mo­ment. This si­lence is the tem­plate of the in­te­rior, which, the Bhag­wad Gita says, “Weapons can­not cut, fire can­not burn, water can­not wet, nor wind wither.” Self-stilled si­lence is the language of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Di­vine. Con­sciously learn­ing to with­draw from the world of phys­i­cal sound can be a start to ac­cess the si­lence within.

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