This selection was read by Hal Seeley at the Awakening Together Weekly Gathering – 11-29-15
Half of the practice of spiritual inquiry is to take you to silence instantly. When you inquire “Who am I?” if you are honest, you’ll notice that it takes you right back to silence instantly. The brain doesn’t have the answer, so all of a sudden there is silence. The question is meant to take you to that state of silence that is not manufactured, where thinking or searching for the right emotional experience fails. If you seek “Who am I?” or ask “What is the truth?” you will notice that these inquiries bring you instantly back to quiet. If you have a resistance to quiet, and most people have a profound resistance to quiet, then as soon as you go back to that quiet state, it is like putting drops of water in a hot frying pan—the mind jumps all over the place looking for something else, for some conceptual answer or image.Read more at location
The kind of quiet that is natural and spontaneous and not controlled is actually a heartful quiet; it’s rich and vast. Controlled quiet is numb and narrow. When quiet is not controlled, you feel very open, you become receptive, and the mind is not imposing itself. There is a natural return to your true nature. Your true nature isn’t quiet; it’s quietness. It could also be called nobodyness or nothingness. When you come to the true quiet, you have transcended quietness. As long as you think quiet is in opposition to noise, that’s not the true quiet. When you are in the true quiet, you realize that when you hear a jackhammer, that’s the quietness—it’s just taken some form. True quiet is absolutely inclusive. It goes beyond all dualistic ideas of what quiet is. When we come into stillness, we find that stillness is not separate from motion or movement. After you meditate, if you get up and start to go about your day thinking, “Why can’t I keep this amazing stillness?” it’s because you’ve experienced the controlled stillness, not the natural and uncontrolled stillness. As you relax back into true stillness, when your body gets up to move, the stillness itself is moving. When you allow yourself to return to your true nature, you’re not wanting any particular thing to happen in the stillness. Many times when people are quiet, they’re waiting for something to happen, which itself keeps them on the periphery, treading water, instead of just letting go. When you aren’t waiting for anything to happen, there is a natural sinking and deepening into the source of your own being. It’s very quiet, and then, and only then, do you start to sense presence. There is a very palpable presence in this quiet. That is why I said this is not a dead quiet. You can sense an aliveness. It’s a presence that’s inside permeates everywhere. When you are looking for it, you are looking for a gross presence, a heavy presence to hit you over the head. This isn’t going to happen. The true quiet is a brightness. You feel bright. There is an awakeness, a deep sense of being alive. When you become quiet, you let yourself relax into the moment, into your true nature. When this happens, you realize you cannot avoid any part of your experience. If you are looking for quietness to help avoid some feeling, then you are not going to experience the real quietness. The nakedness of quiet or presence disarms you so that you can’t avoid any experience, any event, anything. You might avoid things by experiencing a numb kind of quiet, but within the quietness of your true nature, you cannot avoid any part of experience. It is all right here, waiting.
There are many stories or spiritual myths that are created and continue to be perpetuated that portray this coming back to our true nature as a battleground, as if there is something about you that doesn’t want to return to itself. Whether it is called the ego, or the me, or the mind that doesn’t really want to be quiet, spiritual people can buy into this myth that there is something about them that doesn’t want to wake up and that there has to be some struggle. When you are really quiet, you can see that this is total nonsense. You can see that the thought arose in the mind out of emptiness, and only if you accepted it as true could it start a battle. But you see clearly it really isn’t true: it’s just a spontaneous arising of thought. It won’t be true unless you believe it and bring it into the story of the heroic spiritual seeker’s struggle. As soon as you involve yourself in the seeker’s struggle, you’ve already lost the war.
You’ll see from the silence that every way the mind moves is just a movement of thought that has no reality to it and becomes real only if you believe it. Thoughts are just moving through consciousness. They have no power. Nothing has reality until you reach it, grab it, and somehow impregnate it with the power of belief. The only way to enter silence is on its own terms. You can’t go there with something, only with nothing. You can’t be somebody, only nobody. Then entrance is easy. But this nothing is actually the highest price we ever pay. It’s our most sacred commodity. We will give our ideas, our beliefs, our heart, our body, our mind, and our soul. The last thing that we’ll give is nothing. We hold on to our nothingness because that’s our most sacred commodity, and somewhere inside we know this. Only the nothing enters the silence; that’s the only thing that gets in. The rest of what we are just bangs at the nonexistent door. As soon as you want something from the silence, you are moved outside of silence again.
Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti – Pages 49-51