Thursday, December 6, 2007

Silence and Bliss - Sal from Path To No Self blog

Very clear pointing from Sal who writes on the blog Path To No Self

Waking up is not a state. It is not being in a state of eternal bliss, as we have come to believe. The state or experience of bliss is a limited experience, felt by this body mind, which comes and then passes in time. No one is in a constant ‘state’ of bliss. All states are impermanent. I know the state of bliss to arise in this nothing, which is who I truly am. Even the body itself is just an experience, which rises and then eventually sets, within this nothing, which is who I truly am. I used to think that if I could just keep the experience of bliss forever it would mean that I was enlightened. But now it is so evident that that very bliss is actually a limitation that, if identified with, prevents the recognition of that which is true, that which I truly am. True bliss, the bliss that is my nature, is not an experience. It is more like the relief of no longer believing myself to be a limited body/mind organism born to suffer and die. It is the knowing that who I am is eternal and that all is well. It is the living recognition that I am eternal life here and now. And that is the ‘peace that passes understanding’, or experience.

It is the same with silence. As my spiritual path progressed I came to know a profound and very beautiful silence. This is not the silence of mind when there are no thoughts. This is the silence in which thoughts and no thoughts appear. And over the course of my seeking it became easier and easier to ‘tap into’ this silence.

This silence is a tangible psycho/sensual experience. It is blissful. And it doesn’t care what noises or thoughts are occurring. It doesn’t require environmental or mental silence to be. It happens as this mind’s perceptions become more and more subtle. And it doesn’t only have to happen while sitting in meditation.

I remember when I was living in Tiruvanammali I would walk around Ramana’s samadhi every day for an hour or so and the silence would quickly arise very tangibly. It was a strong, blissful experience that I was in love with. And also where I stayed I used to often sit outside on my veranda. Sometimes a butterfly would pass and something interesting always happened. As soon as I saw the butterfly this silence would be triggered. (In fact it still happens now whenever I see a butterfly.) And like a pebble causing a ripple in still water, silence would radiate outwardly in all directions and very quickly become the sub-stratum of my total experience. Cars would pass noisily, or people would be talking, and it didn’t in any way touch this silence. This silence had an existence of its own and it was the core of my experience. It was lovely and blissful.

But I soon realized that if I could experience this silence then it must not be me. Anything that I can experience has to be separate from me simply because I am experiencing it. And this experience of silence always came and went. It was not eternal. Of course at that time I thought that if I just got to the point that this silence was always there it would be enlightenment. But I didn’t yet know who I truly am. Now I know that that experience, like all other experiences, simply arises and sets in nothing, who I truly am. Therefore I don’t really care about the experience of silence anymore, although I can easily experience it if I want to.

But to become attached to this limited experience of silence would prevent the recognition of my true timeless nature, so obvious here and now. To identify with anything physical, mental or experiential, no matter how beautiful or subtle, is to overlook who I truly am. The true silence. The silence of my true nature is also not an experience. It is simply no-thing. It is to know that I have no characteristics or flavor, that I am no-thing. And that silence transcends the psycho/sensual experience of silence and is that within which the experience of silence occurs.

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