Silence & the SecretI followed the typical gluttonous affair of Thanksgiving with two days (didn't quite make it to the third day, smile) of fasting and silence. It was a really profound experience to just be with myself. I still went for long walks everyday with my dog, but the rest of the time I was in my yoga & meditation room. I was able to do 6 40-minute formal sits a day plus two kriyas plus read some of my banis. I took naps everyday--because looking at your mind is exhausting! When I decided to break silence, I called a friend and we went to have yogi soup (green chile and lettuce) at JOanne's, a local restaurant.
She asked me what experiences I'd had, but it's not so easy to speak to. I will say this: One of my favorite songs is by Frank Black called Where is my mind? The answer I found was nowhere; it is not limited by time and space. And to the question, What is my mind? A relationship of hormones, sensations, intuition, memory, and fantasy which responds primarily from memory unless a state of neutrality is reached. To the question, Is the observer the observed? (I've been reading Krishnamurti again) I recognized that there is always an observer beyond the observer--so the split between observer and observed is artificial. It is all one experience--which is God in the flow of life. I guess you had to have been there.
The most profound experience I had--outside the conversation with my mind--was in shuniya--emptiness. Here is one of those profound paradoxes we find in the world of spirit: only in emptiness could I contain the entire world. Again, you had to be there, but when I emptied myself to a state of zero, there was enough space for the entire universe; it was as if the vacuum of my mind became a black hole and swallowed up everything: people, their conversations, stars, cars, everything.
The summation of the entire experience was in the practice of dzogchen, metta and blessing. In Tibetan practice it is dzogchen: breathing in all the disease, all the tragedy, every dark and ugly thing, and then exhaling light, health and healing. I began this simple but profound practice and then transitioned to metta, calling up particular people in my life and wishing them happiness and healing, then finally moved to a blessing mudra within our own Kundalini Yoga practice and here, I found the truth which is the foundation of all faiths: service to others is the quickest route to liberation. This simple practice of praying for others and blessing others was the sweetest of them all and the most fulfilling.
Silence was a struggle and so I continue to deepen my understanding of the gift of shabd guru. Within the sound current of praise, the mind relaxes and rests even as it is uplifted by the sound. We have been given such a great gift and the practice of nam simran--meditating on the identity and experience of God through the name--is a profound way to silence the mind. I now know that I need to make a deeper commitment to this practice in my daily life.
The weekend ended with a viewing of the new buzz movie: The Secret. This is typically the kind of "positive thinking" that drives me crazy. This frantic grasping for the things we want...however, after this weekend, I recognize the power of the mind and the power of the word. I have seen the shift in myself over the years. And more profoundly since coming here. I am opening up to a new awareness of myself as co-creator. There is a greater accountability but also a greater freedom in this. And worse comes to worse, I still bow, ever and always bow to what is.