Monday, March 30, 2009

On Interior Silence

How is it that I have such a deep well of interior silence and peace that sustains and blesses me, but I so often become frazzled and stressed out in my daily life?

Usually I don't write about issues until I've grappled with them long enough to have arrived at some (at least tentative) conclusions.  I'm making an exception in this case because this is important and I want to chew on it intentionally for a while.   

I often have direct experience of what I think of as the Deep Silence that underlies all the noise in Creation.  There is no way to describe it and I'm not going to even try. The impression I have when I encounter it is that it is a dark and still and enormously powerful.  It is what I think some other writers refer to when they write about the Void or The Abyss.  It may even be God.  I don't know. I can't know.  It really doesn't matter.  What matters is that it's really awesome and even brief encounters with it leave me feeling blessed, peaceful, joyful and, somehow, "rested".  I guess that's as close as I can come to describing the experience, too, so I'll leave it at that.
 Keep in mind, that description totally pales in comparison with the real thing.  In any case, I come away from those encounters feeling centered and serene. I love that!

Interestingly, sometimes the Deep Silence reveals itself to me at the oddest times and places.  For example, I used to meditate a lot, and I found to my amazement I could do some of my best mediation on the bus on my way to work.  I eventually quit meditating when I realized that the experiences I had in meditation often came unbidden at random times during the day or, sometimes, in the middle of the night.  All I had to do was to be open to the awareness that the reality I can experience with my senses isn't all there is to Reality. There's a whole lot more going on than we typically see! Meditation practice may help to focus on inner reality, but I have neither the time, patience or desire for that. I'm very fascinated by the "other Reality" out in the world.  I learned that I could just kind of go through my days expecting to have encounters with the Holy and they just kind of happen.

I often find Silence in very crowded and noisy environments: sports venues, airports,  airplanes.  I remember once at a football game, where the noise was deafening (literally because we were sitting directly below a loud speaker and it was cranked up to full volume), the Silence welled up as though it was coming out of the ground and rose like a flood tide.  For a few seconds, the Silence engulfed me. While I could still see the crowd yelling and going crazy, I could hear absolutely nothing. I knew all that craziness was still going on, I also knew  there was silent stillness happening at the same time.  Best of all, that silent stillness was happening in me!  That was a moment of blessing and peace in the middle of an experience that typically freaks me out. (I have great difficulty coping with crowds and loud noise; the two together can be almost unbearable).

On the other hand, I often have difficulty noticing the Silence when I am alone and it is very quiet.  That may be largely due to the fact that when I am alone and it is very quiet, I am almost always either writing or reading, and, therefore, concentrating. Even when I am not concentrating on something, in a quiet setting the monkey-chatter in my mind goes crazy.  I may not be able to achieve the level of serenity I would like at those times, but I always know the Deep Silence is there. I can somehow "feel" its presence even if it chooses not to come too close.  

That is an important point. I know the Deep Silence is there, always.  How close it is or how deeply I experience it is not my choice.  The Silence chooses when to reveal itself and how much.  The experience of Deep Silence is not something I can control in any way.
If I can experience Silence in crowded, noisy places and if I can at least be aware of it in quiet solitude, why can't I be aware of it in the midst of my daily life, especially at work?  Why can't I operate from Silence when others are freaking out and stressing out, instead of joining them and making things worse?  Why can't I be a source of calm and reason for the high-strung, stressed-out people in my life, who really need a steadying presence?   Hell, I am often the one stressing out and melting down over what, in the big scheme of things, amounts to trivial BS.  The awareness that I do not have to behave like that makes me even crazier!

The Deep Silence that underlies the world's noise is sometimes so clear to me it is almost palpable, but I can't seem to access it at the times I need it the most. Why is that?

 Um ... consider the part about "looking for" and "being open to."

Oh, yeah. That. 

No comments: