Today I notice that I tense up and draw out of my inner silence when I’m around people. Having reached such a clear state through meditation, I feel myself adding tension back into my countenance during conversations with others. I do it purposefully although subconsciously, and I’m noticing it strongly today. Why do I do it?
My first instinct is that I’m trying to hide from the other person. I have habituated myself to superficial interactions that occur through layers of personal fog. This personal fog is probably a form of self protection, as I noted on day ten. In a way, superficial engagements and a cloud of chaos prevent me from being seen.
But now that I have become clearer through meditation, I don’t feel the need to protect myself. I have nothing to hide or protect. I realize today that I am not protecting myself; I am trying not startle the other person.
I anticipate people’s confusion when faced with the full stillness within me. I am aware that the stillness in my countenance may be perceived as aloof and detached. But what I fear is that I’m hiding my power, hiding my light so not to provoke questions about me. Inner silence is not commonly encountered in everyday conversation; I have yet to determine how it will be perceived.
I remember a passage in one of Paramahansa Yogananda’s books where he discusses this issue. He claims that when a person looks into the face of a master, one who is pure silence, the person can only see in the master what he himself understands. The pure silence of the master acts as a psychological mirror to the beholder. If the person is vain, he will see the master as vain; if the person is selfish, he will find selfishness in his actions; if he is loving, he will recognize the love in the silence.
I am no master – far from it. But I recognize that the silence within me is beginning to speak more loudly than my words or body language. I see that people are affected by it, even when they are unconscious of it. In those moments I hope to offer them two things: the wisdom of the stillness or the love of its presence. These two things are ultimately the same:
Nisargadatta Maharaj claimed that wisdom is the knowledge that you are nothing; love is the knowledge that you are all things. Because our true nature is non-dual, we are both all things and no things (or neither all things nor nothing to be thorough). We transcend this pair of opposites. A master then embodies the simultaneity of wisdom and love – detachment and unity. By having this awareness he transmits it to others, like one candle lighting another.
That’s some highfalutin language and lofty goals. Makes the hamburger and kool aid I had for dinner seem even less glamorous than normal. So I’m supposed to do all that and work a job and lead a normal life? I guess the Zen koan is true: “Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”
Today I am meditating at work. It’s quiet, should be comfortable. I assume a meditative posture. I have been toying with the idea of splitting my hour into two half hours. I feel like when I have a full hour, I waste a lot of time in an unfocused state. When I know I have only a half hour I get to work. These previous sentences are losing their coherence in light of the last twelve days. I’ll start the new routine tomorrow.
Timer is set for one hour. I push start.
Today I am giving up everything. No goals. No mission. No plans. No people. Just me on a cushion. No results. No aspirations. No future. No past. No expectations.
This meditation has a much more physiological effect than spiritual effect for me. I literally feel blood pressure from the center of my brain run down my brain stem and equalize in my chest. It’s like I’m resting a muscle that has never relaxed before. I feel my blood pressure drop. I feel my stomach relax. Man that feels good. It’s probably been twenty minutes.
Out of the stillness comes shapes and colors. I observe beautiful light shows, astral images of gardens and space. I let them go as they arise. These images have an emotional quality to them. As they appear they feel like I am recovering something lost. It’s all very vague, only impressions. Beautiful though.
I stay here until my timer rings. My body feels filled with light. I have the opposite of a head ache; it feels great. In the absence of all desire and expectation I see how poisonous these attachments are. You can do it all without them, and your body and soul will thank you.
I walk back to the office. No more hiding; we’ll see if anyone notices.