Most people would rather have worries in their lives than have to deal with silence…
If they happened to encounter silence, they feel so afraid of it that they try to escape it. And one of the easiest escapes in our modern times is to use the cell phone. Through the phone we can always fill up our moment with noise, distractions and activities and stay away from this frightening silence.
And if we don’t have the phone we can always talk to people, even if we have nothing important to say. And if we don’t have people to talk to, we can always eat something, or smoke or drink or, if nothing else is available, we can always fall back on our mind and get lost in thoughts, in memories, in worries, in plans, in fears, in blames, in hurts… anything! except for silence.
But why do we need silence?
One thing that everybody wants – without exception – is to find meaning in their lives.
Most of the time we are so busy with our lives that we don’t even have the time to think about it, we just live and hope that meaning will come. But even if we know it or not, we are all looking for meaning, we all want to find a reason why… Why we exist, why we are here at all.
And most people find (or try to find) meaning in what they do, in what they have and in what they become.
But the problem with all of these is that they depend on memory.
I mean, imagine a person finding his/her meaning in having done a great deed for humanity, another one in becoming a famous person and another one in having a great family… doing, becoming and having.
All of these, at any point, in order to be useful, have to be remembered; they don’t exist right here and now but they need to be brought back by the faculty of memory.
But memory is a very fragile tool. A little knock on the head and we forget. Time passes and we forget. Alzheimer’s comes and we forget. And even if we remember, the memory of a past deed, as big and amazing as that deed may have been, is never as powerful, as intense or as bright as it was in the moment it actually happened.
And to depend for our meaning, the most important quality of our whole lives, on such a fragile, flimsy and insubstantial faculty is not a very good thing to do.
…This is such an important but difficult thing to understand that I am going to say it again in slightly different words.
Right now, as you are reading this, where is your meaning? If you want to find it, you will have to search for it in the drawers of your mind. You may have to open a few of them, make a comparison between the different possibilities, and then come to some conclusion: ‘this particular situation, deed or achievement gives meaning to my life’.
But do you see that whatever meaning you find (or don’t find) depends on memory, depends on a conclusion made from comparisons based on the memories in your mind?
Can you see how fragile the whole process is?!
Not only are the memories are fragile, but the whole comparison process is extremely frail! How do we compare anything at all? We compare between the parameters of what we know. And where does ‘what we know’ come from? It comes from the conditionings we had at childhood plus our life experiences. But if our conditionings where not very positive ones – and most people have a very complicated mix of positive and negative conditioning – these comparisons are always going to be compromised by those negative conditionings.
Which means that whatever meaning we find, it will never be good enough.
It is all a ‘mind game’; and leaving the most important quality of our life – meaning – to the mind is a mistake.
We cannot and should not look for meaning in the mind.
We can only find meaning in Presence, the space of Being prior to mind, prior to thinking, prior to memory.
We need to do what we need to do, to become what we are meant to become, to get what we are meant to get trough our love and efforts, to make our money, to take care of our families, to improve our lives.
We need to do all these things, but we also need to understand that the meaning of our lives is not in those things.
Meaning is in Being, which is independent of what we do or don’t do, what we become or don’t become, what we get or don’t get. Doing, becoming and getting are the practicalities of life. Being is the space in which these practicalities appear, do their thing and, when the time comes, go away. Being is like the screen on which a movie is projected. The movie appears, is enjoyed and it ends, but the screen does not go away and does not get affected by the problems or dramas of the movie.
Being is what we truly are.
It is the naked sense of ‘I’, before it becomes ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’.
Being is ‘I Am’, pure, simple, always available, always now.
Meaning is found in Being.
But it has to be discovered.
And opening ourselves up to silence, allowing silence, is a doorway to it.