The Spiritual Path actually lies within us.
I want to remind you of this wonderful truth again because, as you know, most of us in the Western world are intensely busy, creating all kinds of busyness in our lives so that we don’t get bored. Have you noticed that some people always have radios and TV’s and other noise-making machines on? People always need to be busy, have noise in their environment, have activities going on all the time. They always have to have some stimulation on the outer level. Have you ever thought how strange that is?
The only way you can appreciate this is if one day you suddenly find yourself in a position that the busyness is gone and there is just silence and inactivity. It can be quite a shock for some people to suddenly be in silence by themselves. In fact, it can be so frightening that people immediately turn the TV on and get back to their state of busyness. In actuality, being by yourself in silence is an extraordinarily wonderful reality because only in silence, in those precious moments when we are by ourselves, can we find ourselves. Most people are frantically busy because they want to get away from themselves. You know that, right? You make yourself very busy so that you don’t have to deal with yourself. But as difficult as it is for the modern man to understand this, the way to the fullness and glory of life is precisely to find ourselves, in silence. Unless we somehow manage to do that, we’ll just run around like mad dogs and get nowhere fast.
I want to tell you a story about a new pupil I have in Hungary. He’s always extremely busy—super busy—either with his mouth, talking all the time, or with his hands, rushing around doing this, that and the other thing. I went to visit him at his place one day, and he asked if I wanted to go with him to a place where he usually likes to go for a walk. I agreed and we went to this place, which was out of town. It was a beautiful place, completely wild, untouched by humans, with wildflowers growing everywhere and the wind sweeping through the tall grass. He took me to a lookout and told me that he liked to sit there. That’s when I discovered that on the surface he was extremely busy, but every now and then something impelled him to come to this wild place all by himself and sit and enjoy the stillness and quietness and merge into Nature. He was actually doing Yoga and meditating. He just called it something else.
I am just trying to illustrate that every one of us has to discover this point of reference inside ourselves and just abide within our own being, preferably in a natural spot that is conducive to inner stillness. Sooner or later, you have to find time in your life to be still, by yourself. The Spirit within us demands silence—the silence of nature outside and the silence of nature inside. That is the only way the Spirit can move us, or the only way the Spirit can move inside us. That Spirit is Atman, the Pure Self within us, and it needs silence in order to manifest. That is why, of course, the ancients used to withdraw from the world occasionally and go to a quiet spot.
We need to withdraw sometimes and just be by ourselves.
If you are used to being busy, this can be quite frightening, so you may start looking for something to do. It’s difficult to develop the attitude that you don’t have to do anything. People are busy even when they go on holidays, going on boat rides, balloon rides, bungee jumping and all kinds of recreational activities. They’re actually busier than they are at home. They cannot conceive of just sitting still and being there, because to them busyness is life. But we cannot move inside in consciousness until we develop the attitude of non-doing, just being. It is only in that “just being” condition that we can be still enough for the Spirit to speak to us and touch us inside.
So it’s important to take time out and sit in a deserted spot by yourself, like that Hungarian pupil of mine. That is a natural state of meditation and the beginning of mystical processes, the beginning of the Spiritual Path. Evolution is a lifelong process; it’s not just one isolated incident, one retreat, one meditation technique. The whole movement of your life has to be shaped in that direction; you have to feel that your whole life is an inward journey. Every spiritual journey has only one direction—inward.
The essence of all things is Stillness, because the basis of human life, planetary life and the life of the whole Cosmos is Stillness; yet here we are rushing around all over the place with no purpose or end. I know that we are impelled to rush around by outer world conditions. But sometimes we have to switch our attention inward and find the point of Stillness, the point of Eternity in us. Otherwise, we will journey through life and wake up dead one day wondering what happened. So when you have some spare time, find a place to be by yourself. You don’t have to be afraid of being by yourself; you won’t go mad. Just allow yourself to be alone without trying to figure out what to do or looking for something to do. Just allow yourself to be. As strange as it may seem, the Fourth Level of Consciousness, pure mystical consciousness, can slowly flood your being. As soon as you become still and don’t want to do anything, as soon as the stress of doing leaves your system, you can find yourself in a spontaneous mystical experience, which is the beginning of your journey inward towards infinitudes and eternities.
Excerpt from “Heart to Heart Talks”, (Chapter 10)