, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Theresa 

I have a friend who is constantly in story mode in how difficult his life is.  Each time I talk to him he sounds miserable, he explains how stuck he is and how much he is suffering.  I listen, and then I interrupt his story to ask a question.

 “Why do you choose to suffer?”

Choose!!!”  He responds full of animation.

“Yes, choose.”   I recite.

It doesn’t occur to him that our lives are a product of our choice.  Our lives are a product of our way of being.  We choose our existence.  We choose every moment of every day.  There is NO WHERE else to look.  Our lives are simply a product of our choice.  If you are unhappy then BE HAPPY.  If you do not like your work situation then CHOOSE a different existence.  We alone are the power of this creation.

I spent hours trying to have him decipher that his life is of his own creation, that HIS TIME is his own.  Suffering is simply a product of expecting life to be different and expecting life to stay static and permanent.  Complaints are an expression of living life full of defeat and unhappiness.  No matter the circumstance we have an opportunity to choose our way of being.  Flowing with life is a dance of impermanence, a tango to a harmonic beat that fills our soul with the rhythm of the universe.  A Divine drumbeat of love that pulses in every heartbeat.

Once I got through to my friend in understanding that he was the conductor of his own symphony, I told him the vehicle in quieting his suffering mind was FINDING THE SILENCE.

“How can I find THE SILENCE in such a chaotic life?”  He laughed.

I didn’t have an easy answer for him.  The answer really is simple.  It is understanding how to quiet your mind through meditation and internal reflection.  Having this conversation with someone who does not believe this is possible is not an easy conversation.  I chose to start with enrolling him in quotes from others extolling the benefits of silence.  I started with a quote from Gandhi.

“It has often occurred to me that a seeker after truth has to be silent.”  Gandhi

This didnt’ register so I tried to appeal to the rational sense.

“No thought, no action, no movement, total stillness:  only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and at last become one with heaven and earth.” 

Lao Tzu

He still looked at me blindly.  Finally I just said trust me.  I told him his suffering was his mind out of control and finding silence was the way for his true self to take back the reins to his life again.  I showed him how to sit upright and comfortably place his hands, sit with his eyes closed and to breathe in and out deeply.  I had him find a word or words to repeat silently that represented peace and love.  And then I told him to do this every day for at least a half an hour, more if possible.  Morning and night were preferable.  He agreed to try.

“We do not try we only do.”  I laughed back at him. 

The door had been opened.  It was now up to him to walk through or not. 

The noise and chaos of life creates the illusion that silence and peace are not attainable in our world.  It creates the false belief that we must retreat to a mountain top or that we can only find peace within a yoga studio. 

There is a Chinese proverb that states: 

“The small hermit lives on a mountain. The great hermit lives in a town.”

Suffering and pain do not cease if we remove ourselves from society.  It only creates a false barrier and belief that one has eliminated this pain.  The mind follows us everywhere.  We cannot externally escape, we can only find peace from within.  There is no other way.  This is the journey.

This silence, this void is where we find our true self.  It is where we connect to God, where we breathe in synchronicity with the universe.  This is where we find love and our connection to all living beings. 

In order to find peace, to find love we must find the void.  Finding this silence is the journey.  Look within and dance with your life, dance with every moment.  Embrace the silence, and embrace your life.

Call to Action:

        • Take ownership of your life.  There is no other place to look than within yourself.  Create your life.  Be Happy.  Be Love.
        • Find the silence.  Set aside time each day to reflect by yourself.  Preferably this is in the form of meditation, but at minimum find time to look within.  Look at the beauty in every moment.  Quiet your mind and you will find your true being.


Thomas D. Craig

Author A Cup of Buddha