Every spiritual tradition has emphasised silence and stillness as necessary to discover the Divine within us and the Divine in the Universe. These two passages explain how to develop silence for a Christian and a Sufi perspective.
The Christian Masters said of Contemplation:
The duty of the monk is to develop perfect stillness.
When there are no fantasies or mental images in the Heart, and when the mind is established in its true nature,then you are ready to contemplate what is spiritual, full of delight, and close to God.
The objective of the religious life is to develop perfect stillness, in a Heart Centre free of imaginings and fantasies, free of thought forms and verbalizations, and a mind established in its original, formless nature (the no-mindcondition), in order that we may begin to truly contemplate what is spiritual, full of Bliss, and of the nature of the Divine Essence.
The question is, how can we safely bring about:
- A perfect stillness in our being?
- A Heart free of images and thoughts?
- A mind which has ceased all mental chatter and has returned to its source, the Soul?
Alone with God
Solitude, as was understood by the Mystics of the early Roman Church, meant “a retirement from the world, a custody of the five senses, and a moderation in external occupations”. It was a quiet, regulated turning withinof the attention, in the most ideal physical environment, usually somewhere “alone with Nature” or alone in a cloister or monastery.
Solitude is notloneliness, boredom, isolation, aloofness or being “above” others; rather, it is a quiet, inner poise of the mind. Solitude, mental equipoise, serenity, assists the gift of Contemplation and inner-recollection (Concentration).
According to the Christian Mystics of the Roman Church, solitude is an endeavour to be “alone with God” using vocal prayers (mantra), spiritual reading or holy meditation. It also means “an habitual remembrance of the Presence of God”.
In Solitude, God speaks to the Heart.
A Christian Mystical saying
The Seven Stages of Sūfī Silence
1.Do not say or do anything unnecessary.
This eliminates eighty-percent of the chatter and senseless activity of the average man and woman.
2.Silence from psychological memory.
This means living in the Moment and not being conditioned by the Past.
3.Silence of the ego or the sense of “I”.
This means that all actions are done without a sense of ego attached to them.
4.Silence of the mind, or meditative silence.
Whether or not one is thinking or acting, there is an all-pervasive inner serenity. This silence does not come about by the suppression of talking or of action. It has to come naturally, from deep within, from beyond the mind, from the level of the Soul.
5.The Silence of true surrender to the God-Being within.
Establishing an inner connection with the Being of Light and abiding by His Will.
The perception of the Silence, the Emptiness, which is the substratum of the All.
The Silence of the Godhead.
Murāqabaī (meditation) is a state of the mind, an awareness or alertness in which you are a witness to everything, but without becoming psychologically disturbed by what is being witnessed. This state of meditation is not a running-away from the world. It is not a renunciation of the world or a giving-up of the worldly condition, nor a shirking of one’s responsibilities and duties. It is a condition of “being in the world but not of the world”. This can happen only when you become Soul-dependent, when you obey the Master within.It comes as a result of fine inner attunement.
Murāqabaīhas been described by the Sūfī as a state of being in which the ego ceases to be.
Murāqabaī is also the observation of the movement of the mind, moment by moment, and non-reaction to it. Krishnamurti called this state of mind “choiceless awareness”.
It is the ending of all mental activities.
It is true Prayer.
It is Surrender to the Divine.
It is Awakening to the Holy Fire, the Spirit within.
Excerpt from Heaven & Hells Vol 2, Pages 700 & 901