I know how to heal the world. I’ve known for 40 years.
It’s simple but I don’t know if we’ll do it. I don’t know if it’s possible since it seems we prefer being sick, wounded, hungry and angry. I’m not giving up though.
Here’s a bit of backstory.
Forty years ago, I was living in an ashram in India. One morning around 5:30, I walked out of the kitchen where I had been cleaning and cutting fruits and vegetables for the communal lunch. The sun was just rising above mountain ridge across the valley. Entering the main courtyard, I decided to sit for a while on a concrete planter that enclosed several coconut trees. I fell very silent.
We might normally associate silence with not talking, or the absence of noise or the atmosphere in a forest. It’s all these but it’s also more. Silence is a syrup—a very delicate syrup—that mysteriously yet palpably flows through all living things everywhere, through all of existence. It’s a quantum level sap that gives life to all things everywhere. We might call it prana (breath) or shakti (primordial life force).
When our mind becomes still and our attention steadies on a focal point, especially an interior one like, say, the place where the breath stops between inhalation and exhalation, we can begin to feel the sap of silence moving in us.
I did this, on that morning forty years ago, sitting on that concrete planter in the main courtyard of the ashram. My head seemed to suddenly swell with silence, becoming heavy—my body began to disappear, to dissolve. In another moment there was only breathing, not just my breathing—the respiration of the body—but a breathing of everything around me.
I entered the breath of all things and disappeared.
In this breath was a white light. It emanated from everything. It was everywhere. The leaves and flowers of plants, stone walls, the clumps of dirt, the muddy water, the people beginning to pass by—awareness of breathing and light yet no perceiver, no body, no self. And tremendous order and intelligence! Such precision and purpose—each thing related exquisitely to the next—everything defined within itself and in relation to everything else, ordered and sustained by the breathing and the light which had no source but was everywhere, streaming, busy and yet unmoving.
This lasted for two days, after which I did not want to talk for a long time.
I don’t experience that now, not exactly like that, but the residue of this experience is with me to this day. Living in that silence, light and beauty for two days was enough to stain my being with it—enough to establish an identity baseline. I rarely became fooled after that as to my true nature.
I know that I embrace and I am embraced by all of life. I know the world is a condensation of this breath. We are particles of the light of this breath. It’s this light which gives beauty and significance to all things. It’s this light which binds everything together.
This light is love, and peace and unity.
I do not think one needs to sit on a planter in an ashram in India to experience this. I have the view that almost everyone has had a similar experience, if fleeting. What I am talking about is known. Who in this world does not know love, beauty or peace? Everyone does, if only for a minute.
Then, what happens? I guess we just get busy and caught up in other things. I guess we give our attention to lesser things, to insignificant things, pop cultural things, profit things, hate things, war things, killing things, stupid things. I guess that’s what we do.
I am quixotic enough, foolish enough, to hold the view that if we would all remember who we are and live from that remembrance, we’d have quite a different time of it. If we attune our attention to that silent syrup, let our hearts and minds expand from the tide of it, the swells of it, the oceanic movement of silence within our being, if we could do that, we’d have a different time of it.
Maybe we can make a campaign of it. Ask people to tell the truth, the deep and quiet truth of who they are. Maybe we can ask them to act in accord with who they are. Maybe we can. I’m doing my best. Got any ideas?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kimby Maxson/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock