Spiritual Silence and Inner Equality
Written by, Roy Posner
Expressions of Spirit in Life
Though science may not prove its existence, and skeptics will deny it is real; individuals throughout time have had experiences that can only be classified as a higher order of consciousness. The common term for such experiences is that they are "spiritual" in nature.
One individual feels a sudden light and presence; another, an overwhelming sense of peace; while a third feels an oneness with all and everything that surrounds him. Such epiphanies come in many forms, depending on the individual's nature, the culture one is raised in, and other factors.
Take the spiritual notion of "Oneness." Throughout time, individuals have shared with the world their experiences of a profound connection with life. In some instances, it was a feeling of oneness with nature, in others a deep association with the entire universe and in others still, a transcendent connection to the divine. In each instance, the individual experienced a sense of harmony, oneness, and unity with something far greater than his own limited self. These experiences reflect the actual Oneness that exists throughout creation, which is itself an expression of the spiritual Reality underlying all existence.
Another way we experience Oneness is through the deep bonds and connections we have with others. When we focus on the interests and concerns of another person, when we take to their point of view, and when we express our heartfelt thanks, appreciation, and gratitude, we are in essence moving away from our limited sense of self, and opening to a wider sphere of harmony, unity, and oneness.
Though such experiences of Oneness with the objects, elements, and individuals around us are truly profound, they are but one type of spiritual expression. For example, if I move from selfishness to self-giving-ness in my relationship with another, I not only experience a degree of Oneness with that person, but I also experience a degree of spiritual Love.
Then what is spiritual Love? It is certainly more than the physical attraction or attachment we have for another person. It is also more than the vital feelings and emotions we have towards others. It is instead something truer, deeper, and longer lasting. Spiritual Love occurs when the lover, partner, parent, friend, associate, etc. seeks to give of himself without expectation or reward, seeking only the fulfillment of the other person. Ultimately, the highest expression of spiritual Love occurs when we surrender to, and offer our deepest devotion to the Divine, thereby fulfilling its intention in life.
In addition to spiritual Oneness and Love, we also experience the spirit as pure joy and Delight of being. One way we can feel that Delight is by being self-giving to another person, as well as feeling the joy of another person's progress and happiness. We can also feel such Delight whenever we experience something new in the world, such as when we discover a new possibility, or come upon a new idea, or when we have achieved a new level of growth in our lives.
The Witness Consciousness
There is yet one other way we can experience the Spirit in our lives. Behind the layers of our human makeup -- i.e. our physical, vital, and mental parts -- there is a level of pure beingness, reflecting the true essence of who we really are. Behind the substance, movements, and sensations of our physical bodies; behind the desires, wants, emotions, and feelings of our vital being; and behind the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs of our minds, there is an essential silent and unmoving Self and Being.
From this profound inner poise of consciousness, we experience the world as pure "is-ness." From this status, we make no value judgments; offer no opinions; express no wants and desires; experience no feelings, emotions, or sensations; and do not move, or take to action. In this state of Beingness, we just are -- silently observing the unfolding of truths of life around us, without reaction or intention.
Interestingly, through this inner poise of stillness, we can harness a formidable energy and power. By silently observing the world this way, we become sensitive to the true truths unfolding around us, which gives us deeper insight into life's conditions, which in turn help us make the right decisions that lead to right actions. By looking out onto the world through a "witness consciousness," we are not only detached from the intensities and sensations of life, but we gain a vast power to affect it.
In fact, when we shift away from our normal "aggressive consciousness" to this detached, calm, and equal witness consciousness, life has a tendency to respond with sudden good fortune. I.e., when we withdraw from the tumult and activity of the mind, and instead move to mental silence; when we withdraw from the reactions, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and attitudes of the vital, and instead rest in a dispassionate neutrality and equality; and when we abandon our attempts to aggressively seek out life and take action, letting the world come to us on its own, sudden good fortune will likely follow. Although any of these inner movements can elicit the instantaneous miraculous-ness of life response, I would like to share several episodes that stand out.
Experience tells us that when you refrain from expressing an idea or your intentions through speech, the other person will express what you held back shortly thereafter. When we restrain ourselves this way, the atmosphere around us gets charged with concentrations of mental and vital energy, which then penetrate another person's consciousness, causing them to identify with the idea, which then compels them to speak it out as if it were their own.
-A writer wanted to interview several executives at a major US company for a book he was writing. His contact there at first refused his request. The writer was about to describe several reasons why he should be able to meet with the staff, but instead restrained himself and held his tongue. A moment later, the contact suddenly began to describe several reasons why it would be useful for the writer to meet with the executives, and then actually gave him permission to do so!
-A thinker was having a discussion with another thinker. Ideas moved back and forth very swiftly. At one point, the first person decided not to express an interesting idea of his as an experiment in Silent Will. Several moments later, the second person expressed the very idea that the first person had earlier held back.
-A consultant, attending a meeting, restrained himself from joining a small discussion group where he had hoped to engage one of the individuals on an important topic. After the meeting ended, and the consultant headed to the subway station to go home, the very person he wanted to speak with suddenly appeared alongside him. Over the next hour, they engaged in the very conversation that the consultant longed to have.
The Power of Restraint
Though Silent Will compels others to verbalize our thoughts and wishes, there are other dimensions to this powerful technique. To show you what I mean, consider the following hypothetical situation:
Imagine that you are a project manager who is responsible for overhauling your company's production facility. Your assignment is to develop a new wing for the manufacturing plant, which will enable the company to produce its state-of-the-art hardware technology in large quantities. Your broad goal then is to deliver the highest quality result with the least expense in the shortest period.
You begin by polling your engineers to get their input. Their consensus is that the project will take six months to complete. You then use your project management skills to develop a schedule of how long the constituent parts will take. Interestingly, when you organize the project plan this way, a number of new ideas suddenly spring to mind, allowing you to shave off a month from the project. (It is life responding to your mental effort to organize things in the most efficient manner, down to the particulars, as we learned in the chapter on organization.)
As you make these strides in your project plan, you become very energized. As a result, you feel an intense urge to communicate your progress to others. However, rather than give into your eagerness, you decide to hold back. Several minutes later, a cascade of insights about the nature of the project suddenly come to mind. That knowledge allows you to drive down the project's duration by nearly half -- from 6 months to 2.5!
Stimulated by these startling developments, you are motivated to take your non-verbalizing, self-restraining approach a step further. Rather than obsess about what you will say to motivate your team, you decide not to think about the matter at all. In fact, you choose to wait for life to take its own initiative, which will be a signal to you when to take further action.
As a result, a cascade of remarkable events unfolds. First, you receive a series of communiques from team members who express their eagerness to get started on the project. This is a stunning development because they never took the initiative to contact you about projects they were part of in the past. You always had to contact them first. In addition, that afternoon you receive a call from your boss, the VP of operation, who expresses her eagerness to begin work on the project. This is from a person who hardly ever contacts you about anything!
In fact, over the next 24 hours, you learn of several other stunning developments in the firm. First, you discover that a dozen new people have been hired on in your department, giving you a larger pool of resources to choose from. You then learn that the company has unexpectedly purchased several new pieces of software that if implemented would drive down your project by another 50%!
Because of these conspiring events, the once 6-month project is now projected to finish in a mere four weeks! Several days later when your manager gets wind of this information, she drops by your office -- something she rarely does unless there is trouble -- and praises you to the heavens for this remarkable effort. She follows that up with a not too subtle hint that if the project goes as scheduled, you will be in line for a big promotion and raise.
From this imaginary episode, we see the power of restraining our thoughts, feelings, and actions. By holding back at key moment, we create the greatest results with the least effort in the shortest period of time, demonstrating Silent Will power in all its glory.
With that in mind, here are some real life examples:
-A man had been involved in a great project that is a once in a lifetime endeavor. He was participating intently and contributed a lot over the last several months. Then he got a little too involved, becoming tired, sometimes assertive and slightly argumentative. He decided at that point to withdraw from the discussion for several weeks. One of his partners then informed him that his schedule for implementation had now suddenly moved from several years to a few months!
-An individual had been involved in the development of several online expert systems. He had taken the initiative to read a book that contained highly relevant information for our project. A second stage was to organize all of his underlines, highlights, and notes so that the content could be used as the project moved forward. However, rather than take an outer, physical initiative, he decided to restrain himself and hold back. Just after making this decision, he received a very unexpected note from the lead content developer who asked him to forward the name of the very book in question so he could use it for the system.
Reduced and Soft Speech
In addition to withholding the expression of our thoughts and intentions, simply reducing the quantity of the words we speak tends to attract positive conditions. This is the case because there is a power in our speech. Our vocalizations originate in our vital/life center, and carry a life-power and energy. When we speak too much, these energies are squandered, which tends to attract corresponding negative conditions. However, if we conserve our energies through reduced speech -- or, better yet, by remaining completely silent -- they are fortified and strengthened, which tends to attract sudden good fortune from our surroundings. Here are two true incidents:
-An individual was engaged in a lively conversation with a close friend. At one point in the discussion, he overcame his urge to discuss a new idea that had entered his mind, and instead insisted that his friend should speak what was on her mind. She then articulated several concepts that he had never heard before, which energized and thrilled him to no end. By moving to silence, life reversed itself and turned a mundane conversation into an ecstatic moment of freshness and wonder.
-A famous, baseball player hit a home run in pursuit of breaking the all-time record. His teammate then hit another home run after. In the dugout, the two proceeded to engage in a friendly, though somewhat heated discussion about whose ball was hit harder and further. This childish bantering continued for nearly ten minutes. At the time they began the dialogue, their team was ahead in the game. However, shortly thereafter, the other team tied the score. In fact, that rival club eventually went on to win in extra innings, which turned into a heart breaking loss for the home team with the two incessantly chatting players.
-An instructor noticed that every time he engaged in lengthy discussions about politics or other social issues with someone before a class, he would invariably run into some difficulty with that very student during the course of the day. He later committed to never engage in such idle, debate-oriented conversations before his classes, which helped him avoid such negative life response thereafter.
One of the ways we can avoid such pitfalls is to identify those areas of our lives where we waste speech -- i.e. our "speech threshold," -- and then make an effort to draw back from it. For example, the trainer just mentioned could learn to refrain from speaking with students on controversial news topics before class, while a customer rep could cease from engaging in needless, idle conversations with her clients. In such instances, drawing back from one's speech threshold fortifies positive energy, which tends to attract sudden good fortune back to us.
Why then do we speak so much? One reason is that we love the sound of our own voice! Another reason is that we also enjoy the stimulation that comes from interacting with others. It has been suggested that 80% of our conversations take place in a social context, and it is in these stimulating interactions that compel us to vocalize our thoughts and feelings. If, on the other hand, we recognized this fact and controlled ourselves in these social situations, we would not only reduce the quantity of speech, but we would elicit very positive circumstance on those occasions.
It should be pointed out that in addition to reducing the quantity of the words we speak, we can also reduce the volume and pitch of our speech. When we speak loudly and boisterously, life tends to get disturbed and attract negative outcomes. However, if we practice "soft speech," by speaking in a low, soft voice, then good fortune moves our way. In particular, soft speech tends to attract money and other forms of financial benefit.
One 39-year-old wealthy American businessperson lost all 60 of his employees, and was prepared to file for bankruptcy. However, at a relative's suggestion, he and his wife practiced psychological and spiritual disciplines, including speaking in a low, soft voice. As a result, two years later he was in a position to retire for life!
Equality of Being
In addition to mental silence, we can also practice vital silence. If we keep our emotions and feelings in tow when difficulties arise, not only do the problems tend to dissipate, but new, unexpected positive outcomes are apt to take their place. Here are several true-life examples:
-A training company secured work from a well-known global technology company. The class went very well, and the training company sent out an invoice to the client. Normally payment on the bill occurs within two weeks. However, the client informed the training company that they will be paid in 60 days. On hearing this, the individual managing the account at the training company nearly became unhinged. Fortunately, at the time, he was able to hold back his feelings, and eventually reversed himself to the point where he actually attained a state of calm and equality within. The following day the representative of the training company was shocked to discover that the client had paid for the work in full via the Internet that very morning! In essence, through an inner reversal from agitation to vital stillness, a long 60-day receivable had turned into a 2-day payment.
-A woman who had never driven a car long-distance was being hounded by a big-rig truck bearing down on her at high speed on a steep incline of an interstate highway. She was very concerned and bothered by the vehicle's imminent approach. Several minutes later, the truck suddenly swerved off the road, taking an unmarked exit into what appeared to be desert wasteland. When asked what she had been thinking about before the truck made its unexpected exit, the woman said that she had simply decided to stop worrying about the threat. In other words, be still and calm about the matter, ever to the point of ignoring and forgetting it.
-In a famous story set in the 19th century, a man made a wager that he could travel around the world in eighty days. His personality was such that he never worried about anything, no matter how dire the circumstances. As a result, he was constantly able to overcome immanent disasters on the trip.
At one point, as he was about to complete the journey, he was arrested, which, in effect, caused him to miss the 80-day deadline, and, therefore, lose the bet. Undaunted by the false accusation, and remaining utterly calm, he escaped from his captives. Arriving at the final destination point of the race, he learned that he actually had returned one day early and thus had now, in fact, won the wager! It turned out that he arrived on the 79th day because he saved one full day by traveling east to west around the world.
-A company rented workspace from an owner who offered this service. When the principal of the company went on a trip, his own manager and several staff members got into an argument with this owner. When the owner threatened to oust the company from the space, they threatened legal action against him. However, when the principal of the company returned and learned of this contentious situation, he decided to remain absolutely calm and composed. He also told his workers to do the same.
Several days later, the owner of the rental space came up to the principle, and, shaken, told him that his own son had a heart problem. The owner asked the principal if he knew of a hospital where the child could be treated. The boy was then shuttled to a hospital that the principal recommended. There the doctors indicated the need for immediate surgery. However, the owner did not have the money to pay for such an expensive operation. Once again, the principal came through, and was able to arrange financing for the owner through a bank he had worked with. The operation on the child then took place, and fortunately turned out to be a success. As a result of these extraordinary events, the owner felt eternally grateful to the very man whose company he had once tried to evict. An individual's absolute calm and composure in the face of adversity had attracted these most extraordinary circumstances from life.
The capacity to remain undisturbed in the face of intense circumstances -- whether they are extremely negative and displeasing, or even extremely positive and enjoyable -- is the inner power of "equality of being." Any serious movement away from either of these disturbed states to one of equality of calm is sure to attract benefit all the way around.
Like taking to mental silence, moving from agitation, fear, and worry to a state of calm and equality is an indicator that we have attained a certain level of stillness within -- i.e. of Beingness --, which is one of the essential ways we can come to know the Spirit in life.