(Excerpted from “Let Go and Live in the Now” — Red Wheel/Weiser, 2004: 700 words)
We all have within us a vantage point — a very special part of ourselves within which we may be at peace regardless of what goes on around us. This yet-to-be realized state of ourselves may be called conscious self-awareness. Through its power, instead of being pulled down into painful identification with the passing shadows of life, we can discover a life in a peace far above the reach of any fear. One thing needs to be clear about true peace of mind: Either we are at peace wherever we are — because this peace goes with us — or what we call our peace is a product of some pleasurable condition over which we have temporary command. In situations like the latter, though largely unconscious to us, we sense that our peace is conditional. We know that we must work to keep certain prevailing conditions in place in order to remain at peace. And this, of course, means that we will resist any movement that threatens our desired state. Clearly such a tentative peace is not true peace at all, because it dwells side by side, in league with an unseen conflict that is a basic requirement of its existence.
What does this insight teach us? True peace is never a sensation. Its hidden nature is the expression of a timeless stillness, a silence not born of, and therefore beyond, the play of the opposites. This silence cannot be possessed. As it cannot be gained, neither can it be lost, which means that whomever it embraces lives in a world free of fear.
What does this mean to us? True silence may be called upon, but as it is without cause, it always appears on its own, remaining only as it pleases its purpose. Nevertheless, one may court this stillness through a quiet wish to understand its life within one’s own. For this reason, our moment-to-moment meditation becomes a revelation if we open ourselves to truth and listen to what it reveals.
Study the next “Seven Insights Into True Silence” and allow their understanding to reveal the secret home of peace within you. Ponder these truths. Quietly turn them over and over in your mind. Soon you will hear what cannot be told.
1) Just as true emptiness holds all things, true silence bears all things. Whatever is brought into this silence, whatever it touches, is gradually silenced . . . not by an act of domination, but through a peaceful integration of a lesser peace into a greater one.
2) True silence is an interior presence and not an exterior circumstance. Its peace has no opposite and is not created, which means nothing can act against it or serve to enhance its existence.
3) True silence cannot be cultivated, but the interior conditions that prohibit its presence, and our relationship to the peace within it, may be recognized and released, allowing us to realize the silence we seek.
4) True silence is perfectly empty of content and completely full of peace, without any contradiction between the two.
5) True silence is without preference, and as it neither rejects nor resists any condition, it is always at peace.
6) True silence doesn’t have intelligence — it is intelligence of an order, which a divided mind cannot comprehend. Its peace surpasses all understanding.
7) If we wish for the presence and peace of true silence, then the great necessity of solitude should be as evident to us as the knowledge that any seedling must be left undisturbed, if it is ever to break out of its dark ground and live in the light.
Let all we have looked into together show you that there is a higher world and that this peaceable kingdom of Now dwells within you. Allow your heart to remind you what the mind so easily forgets: there is a peace. There is a shelter. There is a timeless place in each of us that no darkness can shatter or dispel. Make it your one intention to spend your time there. Prefer its ever-present company to that of any promise of peace to come, and watch how your life grows happy and whole in stillness beyond compare.