Thursday, January 12, 2006

Silence and inner self

Sonavi Desai DNA Sunday, December 18, 2005
Profound experiences leave us speechless. When we are moved by deep emotion we we grow silent. It is only through silence that we are able to discover our inner self and experience Being. Silence is an essential practice in every mystical tradition. Through silence one enters the realm of contemplation and meditation. Silence creates an atmosphere of calm and stills the mind. In fact, the sages called munis would take a vow of silence. Their intention was to channel all their physical and mental energies into their spiritual quest. Mystics are able to hear the voice of the Almighty because they have stilled their minds and tuned themselves to listen in silence. As Ramana Maharshi said, "Silence is also conversation."
We require a high level of concentration to work efficiently. This concentration can only be achieved through silence. When we are quiet we are able to gather our thoughts and focus on the task at hand. Any creative activity too requires silence. The most profound work of a musician or painter is born of silence. All superficial elements are brushed aside and the artist is totally in communion with his inner self. Silence, however, must not be confused with inaction. It does not mean merely refraining from speech. A quiet person may appear tranquil on the surface but may be in a state of tamas, which fosters dullness and negativity. Positive silence arises from the state of sattva, which is a balanced state of inner calm where the mind resides in awareness. Such a person is centred and is awake, energetic and creative. If silence has to benefit us it must be practiced at both the physical and mental levels. Moments of silent reflection are invaluable; it is in these moments that we find clarity and peace of mind.
Sri Aurobindo said: "Silence is all, say the sages/Silence watches the work of the ages/In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages/Silence is all, say the sages."

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