Love Serve Meditate Realize

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – March 15, 2010

Silence—whether called quietude, contemplation, meditation, or some other term—has been universally valued as an antidote to our noisy, chattering mind, so that deeper truths can be revealed.  As author Carlos Castaneda writes, “Whenever the dialogue stops, the world collapses and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they have been kept heavily guarded by our words.”  The spiritual writer Satperm advocates extending silence to thought itself:  “(I)f the power to think is a remarkable gift, the power not to think is even more so.”  We find the same message in the writings of Lao Tzu: “‘He who knows does not speak/He who speaks does not know.”  St John of the Cross agrees: “For whereas speaking distracts, silence and work collect the thoughts and strengthen the spirit.”

These comments, spanning nearly three millennia, reveal the great value all mystical traditions attribute to silence.  Silence of mouth and mind is one of “nothing’s” greatest paradoxes.  By thinking and saying nothing, we apprehend everything.  Thus, historian of religions Edward Carpenter notes:

“Of all the hard facts of science, I know of none more solid and fundamental than the fact that if you inhibit thought and persevere, you come at length to a region of consciousness below or behind thought, and different from ordinary thought in its nature and character… [It is a world in which] one’s soul is in touch with souls of all creatures.  It is to be assured of an indestructible and immortal life of joy immense and inexpressible.”

Again the message is the same:  If this “joy immense and inexpressible” is to be realized, we must become nothing and nobody—a state in which, as Huxley says, “…there is no separate selfhood to obscure or refract…the ‘white radiance of Eternity’…the Thing in itself can be perceived—but only by one who, in himself, is no-thing.”

Larry Dossey, M.D., The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things