Contemplative Silence — The Art of Tapping Into Our Source of Inner Wisdom and Guidance (Exploring the World Religions column), By James Bean

Contemplative Silence — The Art of Tapping Into Our Source of Inner Wisdom and Guidance (Exploring the World Religions column), By James Bean

“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us.” (A Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelly, Quaker mystic)

In this matrix or labyrinth of existence we can become quite habituated into remaining as surface-dwellers living inundated by all the outward distractions that life on earth provides. We may ask of ourselves, “Am I availing myself of the spiritual direction and wisdom that comes from within?” This would be a source of wisdom that not only provides an inner perception of bliss, insight, or affirms a “Truth” of some sort that one believes in, but an inner intuition that can also make a positive contribution to one’s outward life on the physical plane. Mystics teach that the inner and outer life are not separate. There is a relationship between one and the other. A life-affirming state of being on the inside leads one to making the outward life into something more heavenly too.

There are both outward and inward avenues to wisdom. There is the wisdom of living teachers with us now, as well as the wisdom left behind in the form of world scriptures and spiritual classics by teachers of previous generations. “Through association with Masters, the hearing of spiritual talks and study, wisdom can be acquired. Wisdom is essential in determining what is the right way to live your life.” (Maharshi Mehi) “Let thy house be a place of meeting for the wise, and dust thyself with the dust of their feet, and drink their words with thirst.” (The Mishnah, Jewish text) “Approach someone who has realized the purpose of life and question him with reverence and devotion; he will instruct you in this wisdom. Once you attain it, you will never be deluded. You will see all creatures in the Self, and all in Me.” (Krishna, Bhagavad Gita) “The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby.” (Confucianism. I Ching 26: Taming Power of the Great) “Without proverbs [traditional wisdom], the language would be but a skeleton without flesh, a body without a soul.” (Zulu Proverb, South Africa) “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.” (Yeshua, Gospel of Thomas) “Absorbed in the Scriptures and their purport, he transcends the cycle of birth and death.” (Jainist Sutra)

Outward instruction and inspiration is priceless, and there is also an inner Voice of the Silence we can tap into. “There is a speaking of God in the core of the soul where no creature can enter or speak, for only God lives there and only He speaks. God speaks there when the soul puts aside all that is created, when she silences her powers and gains a vision into the foundation of her pure essence. In this pure and silent soul God the Father speaks and she hears His Voice.” (Meister Eckhart, German mystic) “The imaginations of the mind are just as innumerable as the innumerable waves of an ocean. If somehow this mind can become quiet by itself, attainment of true knowledge — like diamond will become easily possible [everyone in this world is sad and restless because of lack of true knowledge. This true knowledge can be attained only when the mind becomes quiet].” (verse from, The Sakhi Granth of Kabir) Through silence meditation we can “step outside the box.” Silence speaks volumes. The practice of receiving inner guidance or hearing the Voice or Life Impulse of God in the silence of contemplation is a universal teaching of all great saints and mystics.

In, “The Way of the Saints”, speaking to both the need for guidance about more temporal matters as well as inner wisdom that leads to the eternal experience of Ultimate Reality, Kirpal Singh said, “There is a cardinal need for developing inner receptivity. The Master-Power, as you all know, is not confined to any particular place. It is working in and around you. You have but to turn your face towards Him inwardly to get the required help and guidance wherever necessary. Learn to sit still and be mentally still, and the silence thus generated with be more vocal than words spoken and written; and you will have an instantaneous solution not only to your own personal problems but to the problems of others as well……..God is the Ocean of utmost and restful silence. So long as we cannot have this restful silence within us, the soul cannot listen to the Voice of silence arising out of the greatest depths of Silence. By following that Voice we can reach the source and fountainhead of the Great Silence called God and be blessed forever…. In silence the heart illumines; veil after veil is removed. In the heart shines the Light, and the very silence becomes vocal giving vent to the Music of the Spheres reverberating in all creation.”

Paramahansa Yogananda in, “Metaphysical Meditations”, guided souls into their own experience of inner wisdom and insight: “I will bring Thy presence consciously into my mind through meditation, in order to solve the problems life has sent me…. Teach me to know that Thou art the power that keeps me healthy, prosperous, and seeking Thy truth….. On the throne of silent thoughts the God of peace is directing my actions today…. I will use my creative thinking ability to gain success in every worthwhile project that I undertake…… I will attune myself to Thy wisdom-guided will to direct my habit-guided will. I will cultivate calmness of mind, knowing God is ever with me. I am Spirit!”

From the Depths Within, Living From the Center of One’s Being

The art of listening in the silence of meditation provides us with countless opportunities to see clearly without the usual day-to-day distractions, perceiving the events of our life from a higher vantage-point. “Silence gives us a new way of looking at everything. We need this silence in order to touch souls.” (Mother Teresa) Silence allows angels to whisper advice into our ears. It also makes it possible for the authentic self to rise to the surface, introducing a new divine power or grace into this dimension of reality. It imparts insight, and ultimately, wisdom borne out of the depths or womb of contemplative silence gives birth to the realization of the soul itself. “There was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the Blessedness whereby I knew my real self.” (Book of Allogenes [The “Stranger” or “Foreigner”], Nag Hammadi Library)

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