What if silencing the mind is the starting point and not the goal of our meditation practice?
There’s just so much noise in our life, social media, kids, family, work, social life, partner, plans.Â Â
But also the noise in our own head, that incessant raging bull that just-never-stops and is rarely giving clear information or guidance.
Too often, it’s tainted with fear, anxiety, comparison, memories, and it’s completely unfiltered.
It’s not clear and silent.
As a little girl of 9 years old, I’d observe my mind. So often, it would be creating dramas and devastating outcomes to situations.
I remember thinking,Â
â€śWow, if I believe these thoughts my life will not end up well.â€ť
I was already on a search, but I didn’t yet know for what.Â Â
So we turn to self-improvement because we seek to know ourselves in a better, and more genuine way that has depth. We want to know our spiritual self, our higher self, and get above the fray, be a better person, or even the best version of ourselves.
All noble aspirations.
But, self-improvement so often ends up being about polishing our personality, our outer self, our outer husks.
It’s like swimming around on the surface of an ocean that’s one day calm and serene and another it’s stormy and choppy, but we don’t know why or how it changes or how to dive below the surface.
Where Does This Take Us, Really?
To a more polished “outer self,” a shinier protective coating, a focus outward that we start to believe is us, is truth?
Going inside with meditation in our crazy lives today so often isn’t enough, as what we usually encounter is the noise of our mind…the worries, the anxieties, the pulls of life, our to-do list, our plans, however noble.
Sri Aurobindo, the great Indian spiritual teacher, is quoted as saying:Â “In a certain sense we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations…”
So we turn to meditation. We’re wanting something more profound than playing around in the waves.
We’re seeking to know ourselves, as the surface work provides only short-term peace.Â
As spiritual seekers, we seek to find, we don’t want to seek forever. So we need techniques that will take us all the way in, all the way up…all the way.
What if silence is the first step, but is also the invisible barrier to much higher states of consciousness?
“Silence is an empty space – space is the home of the awakened mind” ~Â Guatama Buddha.
If finding the Divine or the Self, and conquering the depths of our consciousness is what we truly seek, then silence becomes our friend.
When we can consistently attain silence inside, a whole inner world opens up to us that was previously hidden by the noise.
We cross the silence barrier and start to actually know ourselves.
“Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and all the gods” ~ superscription above the portal of the Delphic Oracle.
So this means we have to silence the mind. But you can’t change the mind from the mind, which is why we have teachers who have mastered this. This requires guidance and techniques from masters who have done this before us.
“Being able to silence the mind at will is an essential and achievable skill.”Â ~ Samuel Sagan M.D.
It’s through experiencing silence we awaken to another state of being that is clear, quiet, and different from how we usually think.
“When the mind is silent, words come, speech comes, action comes, everything comes, automatically, with striking exactness and speed. It is indeed another, much light way of being” ~ The Mother
Our thinking changes.
Our being changes.
We see things about ourselves that were previously hidden to us.
We let go of the gerbil wheel of anxieties and thoughts that shape our personality and how we navigate our life.
It’s all found beyond the silence.
Meditation Is What Will Get Us There
It’s designed to do that.
Meditation is the foundation of my practice and has been for almost 25 years now.
I haven’t missed a day.
Meditation is about going beyond this coating, this surface, these beliefs that uphold the personality, these protections and defenses.
It’s about diving beneath this thin surface and seeking to know the depths and vastness of our selves, our consciousness.
It’s a movement of our awareness toward silence, beyond the noise, whether outside or in our own heads.
If you’re anything like me, the pursuit of silence in my spiritual practice has been fundamental as I have a powerful mind, which is a fantastic thing in the outside world but not so great when I closed my eyes to meditate.Â
When I found my spiritual teacher some 25 years ago, I knew it was time to dive in fully and commit to my practice. Whether I was in phases of full-time practice meditating 14 hours a day, or my one hour every day that I do when I’m back in the world running my business.
I’ve tried numerous meditation styles and types, and one that I highly recommend has anÂ introduction that contains two full guided meditation practices as well as two talks by the spiritual teacher, Samuel Sagan M.D.
Just start with 10 minutes a day and let it grow into something rich and fulfilling!
So start meditating right now with clear guidance and context about meditation in the 21st-century.