Out of our five physical senses our sense of hearing has the greatest range. Given this fact, it is not surprising that sounds often represent the greatest source of disturbance to our inner peace in relation to our external environment.
Nonetheless, even if we could shut ourselves off from all sounds, through headphones or other means, this does not mean we have attained any type of inner peace. As what tends to happen in such cases is that invariably our thoughts pick up where the outside noises, which were the source of our initial disturbance, left off. What is more, the effects of the disturbance that our thoughts create within us are often much greater than any external source; as they tend to be with us 24/7, no matter where we are. This fact has sadly become very prevalent in the world of lockdowns, and the source of much anxiety, anguish and depression in our society.
Thus, as any seeker of inner peace knows, true silence or emptiness can only be attained when the person is able to free themselves from their thoughts. In such a condition, depending on the depth of inner silence or emptiness, a seeker can even find themselves immune to the disturbances caused by outside noises. As through years of practice, a seeker of inner peace can shut themselves off even from loud inner and outer sources of disturbances, through the discovery of an eternal inner fountain of silence, referred to as the golden silence.
It is through connecting this golden silence, which the seeker has developed in a stepwise manner, to the Great Silence that is the source of all existence or is referred to as the Absolute Existence, that the seeker is finally able to become a true conduit of inner peace for all society. Moreover, such a seeker invariably becomes the messenger of the Great Silence for those who want to undertake the spiritual path known as the alchemy of inner silence. As this golden silence, like an alchemical process, slowly evolves the person by developing the attributes of the seeker’s soul.
It is through this golden silence, which is referred to by many mystical names, that the seeker is able to free themselves from the confines of their unruly thoughts, egoistic mind-set and even from their bodily confines.
Many spiritual paths that we know today, in effect have developed various means of achieving this golden silence through practices like breath control, mantra repetition or thought projection, just to name a few.
Yet, the path of the alchemy of inner silence, which is based on the teachings of Sufi masters, has for centuries used a pyramid approach to the attainment of this golden silence. Where the base of this pyramid is the mystical rhythms that are infused in the verses of sacred texts or the mystical poetries of spirual masters like the 13th Century Sufi master, Rumi. It is through the use of these sacred rhythms that the seeker’s mind is brought into a state of quietness, when the vibrations associated with these rhythms played on a percussion instrument or other musical instruments, are slowly absorbed by the seeker’s heart, which then by sending signals to the seeker’s brain slowly quietens the mind of the seeker through altering the hormone balance in the seeker’s body. Once this quietness is attained the seekers are then taught other steps in the pyramid of exercises, like heart focus or heart meditation, and other above-mentioned practices that heighten the sense of emptiness of the seeker in a step wise manner so that the aforementioned alchemy can take place.
For such a seeker, the process of growing this golden silence is analogous to digging a hole where a person can dig a hole by use of their hands, shovel or even an excavator. Clearly the use of an excavator is the most effective way of creating this hole. In spiritual terms, and where the golden silence is concerned, these sacred rhythms act as an excavator. Because while other methods do produce this golden silence in the long run, none of them possess the music’s power of stopping the thought process at its source. This is because the sacred rhythms in effect use the hidden power of music to unleash quietness in the mind of the person. So that the seeker is not constantly fighting their thoughts, nor trying to navigate them, nor let them flow by.
Consequently, in one sense, these rhythms act in a similar manner to the Biblical story of the ladder to heaven, mentioned in the story of Jacob’s ladder. As the rhythms produce a ladder of inner emptiness that slowly connects the seeker’s soul to its source. Hence, the golden inner silence slowly becomes connected to the Great Silence itself, leading to experiences where the seeker eventually becomes a walking and living conduit for the Great Silence.
That is why Rumi says: ‘Direct your course towards silence: when you seek the marks of the path!’ (From Rumi’s Masnavi)
For as Rumi suggests it is this silence that becomes the guiding light for the seeker’s heart, which carries the seeker’s connection to another realm altogether. Rumi describes this guidance as a wooden horse riding on an ocean, for he says:
‘The wooden horse is no good on dry land; it carries exclusively those who voyage on the sea.
The wooden horse is this mystical silence: (this) silence gives instruction to the sea-folk.’
The sea-folk that Rumi is talking about are the seekers who are able to dive deep into the ocean that is the Great Silence or Universal Consciousness, and hear its directions and guidance in meditation or even during their normal consciousness. As such, a seeker’s underlying consciousness as a result of ever deeper silence becomes profoundly rooted to this ocean. So much so that for someone like Rumi, his underlying awareness is unified with this ocean, where each word he speaks, or his every thought is inspired by this ocean.
For as Rumi says: ‘In silence the spiritual kernel grows a hundredfold!’
These are all levels of experiences for seeker’s who have managed to attain the above mentioned golden silence and develop it to such an extent that they are a walking conduit for the Great Silence.
At this level, these seeker’s physical presence in this world is an open invitation to all those who want to attain and experience their own golden silence at each moment. What is more, such a person only breaks their own silence purely as a means of inviting others to undertake the same journey. As their entire motivation is driven by the love they have for the Great Silence, and their wish to guide all those who desire such experiences. For what flows through them in a state of silence is bliss and love for all life, and its source, regardless of the form of manifestation.
The following story illustrates this type of guidance:
Long ago a seeker who had heard a great deal about the effects of inner peace and the inner state of a certain spirual master, decided to seek him out. After a long journey he discovered the master sitting quietly on a beach in the middle of a hurricane, as the giant waves were crashing against the rocks.
The man, who was intrigued by the master’s calm demeanour in the middle of a storm, approached the master and asked, “Master, why are you sitting out in this storm?”
The master on hearing the man looked up into the man’s face, and smiled, “Is it not obvious?”
The man who was puzzled by the master’s response scratched his chin, shook his head, and replied, “Not really!”
The master in response looked at the man and gently retorted “I see! Well, the reason why I am here is because I am trying to compare the sounds of the waves with the sound of waves within me. If you want, I can show you?”
The man who was bemused answered, “Huh? But how can you show me the sound of the waves within you?”
The master grinned and answered, “Don’t you know that sound requires a medium to travel in? So what better way to show you their effects than to show you how the sounds of the waves travel within my inner medium?”
The master then took out a pen and a blank piece of paper from his pocket and drew the calm scene of a river connected to a still ocean, while the sun was rising, and handed the picture to the man. The man on seeing the picture was intrigued, and promptly enquired, “Is this really how you feel, even in front of these giant waves?”
The master in response stood up, and as he was leaving chuckled, “My dear man, feeling and sensing are irrelevant for a canvas! As a canvas is merely a medium of expression for the artist!”
A few days later when the storm had subsided, and the ocean was as calm as the serene picture the master had drawn a few days earlier, the seeker once again saw the master sitting quietly by the ocean in the same tranquil state.
This time he approached the master and said, “I guess the picture you drew the other day makes more sense to me now, faced with the current calm scene, than when the hurricane was bellowing. Maybe what you drew the other day was a type of prediction of today.”
The master in response stood up, and as he was leaving smiled, and replied, “No prediction was intended, and your perception of what makes sense to you is relative to what you know and sense. Both of which have no access to what is running within me!”
A few days later, on seeing the master sitting quietly admiring the loud New Year fireworks, and people dancing and celebrating the New Year, the man once gain asked about the state of the master. In response the master smiled, and once again drew the same serene scene for the man on his pad and handed it to him.
The man who was again baffled asked, “Master, I just don’t get how your inner state could be the same regardless of your surroundings?”
The master chuckled, “But my dear man, my inner state is not the same regardless of my surrounding.”
The bewildered man scratched his head, and enquired, “But you drew the same picture each time in relation to your inner state, when your outer surroundings were totally different?”
“Indeed! But that doesn’t mean my inner state was the same.” Grinned the master.
“Huh, I don’t understand?” Replied the confused man.
The master smiled and gently answered, “That is because in response to your questions I simply drew a picture of something you can relate to! As what is happening in reality within me at each moment is something you can’t relate to nor appreciate. So instead, through the picture, I tried to show you what you surmised from my outer appearance, which is the calmness and tranquillity you perceived from my face. But my outer appearance hides the inner reality of my inner being, which can be best summarised by the following words: ‘Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river.’ Therefore, when you asked me to tell you of my inner state I simply drew the picture of the ocean within me, but that didn’t mean the ocean was not carrying messages to me at each moment.”
“What messages was the ocean carrying to you at each moment?” Asked the curious man.
The master grinned, “The message that: ‘When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk into the river. Listen to the ocean.’ That is why I was not bothered by the hurricane.
The man who was now very intrigued, promptly enquired, “So what does the ocean tell you when you listen to it?”
The master gave a loving glance towards the man and replied, ‘That silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation!’
The silence mentioned in the above story by the master only makes sense to those who have discovered their inner golden silence and connected it to the Great Silence. Thus, for those who are in search of such an inner peace, and its alchemic properties they should follow the open invitation of masters like Rumi, and become seekers of their own golden silence, as only then they will appreciate the multidimensional message behind the expression silence is golden!
To join our next Heart Meditation intro workshop on the 11th April please Register Here. The workshop will take place via Zoom and the link will be shared just before.