The Paradox of silence.

“Buddha’s doctrine: man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are impermanent. Chief among these things is his own person, for this is his means of isolating himself from the rest of life, his castle into which he can retreat and from which he can assert himself against external forces. He believes that his fortified and isolated position is the best means of obtaining happiness; it enables him to fight against change, to strive to keep pleasing things for himself, to shut out suffering and shape circumstances as he wills. In short, it is his means of resisting life. The Buddha taught that all things, including his castle, are essentially impermanent and as soon as man tries to possess them they slip away; this frustration of the desire to possess is the immediate cause of suffering.” ~Alan Watts…

As those of you that follow this blog has obviously seen by now that silence for me is the new realization.

But like all things new that is understood for the first time one needs to spend time with it work with it and get to know it well before one should utter truths about it.

Since my last post and my recognition of the element of silence that I have yearned for, I have come to learn a few new things about it. First off though, one of the most important tenants of Vipassana meditation as espoused by Sweta Gupta, is that its no use isolating one self in silence and think that you have mastered it.  Mastery is achieved by going out every day to work, to relationships to family and practice. There in lies the crux of my realization.

Silence is not isolation. 

Its easy to have and be silent with yourself when you are alone by yourself. With a little bit of practice that could and is achievable. But being silent in a crowd takes practice. Not letting people steal your silence takes even more practice.

Back to Sweta Gupta’s tenant, one should and could practice in silence by yourself, but the test of yours kill in silence lies how it can be brought about to your mind in difficult situations. And maybe one should when  one first discovers silence like all new skills practice where you can get it working for you, in the safety of your own space.

But I think once you have the basics in place the area to practice it is in your interaction with those that might impinge on your silence.  The mettle of a warrior is only measured in battle. Practice improves skill and where better to see if your practice is bearing fruit than in the world out there.

We are all the masters in our own universe, but mastering skills to be effective in keeping the silence in daily interactions of creating a life, is where the execution of the practice lies.

For me the awareness of silence but also the need for interactions and community is the paradox. Being alone yet have a network that one links into is the greatest gift of life I think. Family, friends and a space to belong creates safety but also complacency.

I think one oscillates between these two poles of silence and noise of connection, balance is only created by having the other in your mind when you busy with the other. Otherwise in silence is loneliness and in community is a sense of being overwhelmed.

Life is not either or, its walking the tightrope of loneliness and community continuously and seeing the place and space for everyone.




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