The Fight For Mental Silence; The Mind Keeps Chattering Even When You Don’t Speak

(The Universal Spiderweb by Armando Torres)

Talking with don Melchor was never easy; everybody respected him; one didn’t come to him with nonsense, so I took advantage of the moment to clarify my doubts about internal silence. At that time, I was obsessed with reaching that goal; I’d already had a glimmer of it, but I was not yet was able to anchor myself there. So I asked him about it again. In the past, when I asked him about that, he only looked at me without saying anything, but on this occasion, he said:

“There are several types of silence, or maybe we should call it different levels of attention –”

I interrupted him. “What does that mean, don Melchor?”

“In his fight to reach silence, the warrior passes through different stages,” he answered. “The first thing is when he decides to stop talking; for modern man it’s almost impossible to conceive that one can stop talking. The truth is that the everyday chatter, and, even more, the need for participation and being the center of attention, together form the biggest obstacle to reaching real silence.” He paused and then continued:

“Once you’ve succeeded in closing your mouth comes the fight for mental silence because the mind keeps chattering even when you don’t speak. When there are no more words, the next challenge is to observe the images or ideas that appear in your mind, but” – he paused for emphasis – “without explaining, justifying or condemning them; in fact, without thinking about them at all. It feels like flowing in the here and now. When you achieve that, it’s only a matter of waiting. At some moment, and without any intervention from the intellect or even the personal will, true silence arrives.”

“It’s very difficult to describe since the experience is different for each person. My personal description would be that it’s like a dream, with the difference that you’re still awake. The everyday world becomes extraordinary; you begin to perceive things that are not commonly perceived, and the voice of seeing takes control.”

I was about to ask him another question, but with a forceful gesture he stopped me; he said that I should look fixedly at the fire without thinking. As always, it was difficult for me at first, but after some time observing the fire and fighting to maintain control over my thoughts, he suddenly put his hands on my shoulders, as if to keep me from falling back. I felt it as a jolt of energy, as if it had liberated me of something; it was like breaking a membrane, and suddenly everything in our surroundings made sense; it was as if suddenly everything exuded life. It was a wonderful sensation of being connected to everything; the curious thing is that everything continued being the same, but it was no longer the same.

***

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