Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transformation through Silence

“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.” .........Thomas Merton, The Climate of Monastic Prayer

"In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence." ..............Mother Teresa

In today’s article, a basic and universal concept of prayer with its deep spiritual dimension is being studied. I have quoted from Thomas Merton, a Benedictine monk, whose deep understanding of contemplative mode of prayer and communion with the Divine has become the tool for many spiritual adepts. The methodology of emptying oneself at the mental level is stressed by him as at the moment the mind is involved the expectations are degraded to symbols and imagery which had been already generated by a process of cognitive perceptions. To truly transform our ignorance into illumining Divine light, all expectations are to be done away with. There cannot be any seeking of transformation as any seeking naturally entails a predefined qualification and the sought after descends into an objective classification. Any objective classification is rooted in duality and hence cannot be the ultimate reality.

The process of how the transformation takes place is also defined as something beyond words but being in silence. Silence is the absence of any predefined auditory input. In silence it is the heart that listens and not the mind through the sensory organ. A heart in contemplation is in perfect balance between the lower temporal energies and the higher, Divine energies. It is the perfectly balanced Anahatha chakra, which is symbolised by the two intersecting inverted triangles, the Star of David. It is through this perfect balance that an emptying takes place.

This process is further endorsed by Mother Theresa. It is only in the emptiness of all the attributes of the fallen human nature that one can be prepared to ascend to the higher level of consciousness; it is the re-entry into the Garden of Eden.

According to Zen, existence is found in the silence of the mind (no-mind), beyond the chatter of our incessant internal dialog. Existence, from the Zen perspective is something that is only happening spontaneously, and it is not just our thoughts. All of life that we perceive is constantly in a state of change. Every atom in the universe is somewhere different every millionth of a second. It is the residing in the unchanging domain of the space between all manifestations that one can truly meet and experience the higher level of consciousness or the God experience.

When Thomas Merton and Mother Theresa speak of silence it is this space of no-change and it is a dimension beyond the mind, where in one can have a transformative experience of an existence of absolute peace and joy. This is the only intention of our prayer or communication with God; that is to merge with the Divine.

Love to you all

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