The Mystery of Silence
--by Dorothy Hunt (Feb 18, 2008)
Silence cannot really be described. It is not the absence of sound. It makes it possible to notice sound. It is still, but its stillness is constantly moving. It is nothing, but a nothing filled with everything. It is aware, but may move unaware. It is love, but a love that lets hatred be. It is wise, but its wisdom only fools can know. It has a shape, the shape of this moment. It has its own sound, but can only be heard when the mind is still. Unceasingly, it speaks Truth without uttering a single word.
This Silent Mystery is prior to mind. It also moves as mind, but the mind cannot imagine what it is to disappear into Silence. That is why it is so often afraid of deep silence. Yet it is in silence that we can discover the truth of what is always here, always undivided, and always in peace, even if the moment does not seem peaceful. The Silence of our true nature is deeply, profoundly, and unceasingly present. It cannot be lost by the mind’s confusions nor gained by its clarity, for this awake and eternal Silence does not come and go.
We do not need long years on a meditation cushion to ask ourselves: What is here when we are not trying to arrive there? What is here, so close we do not notice? Who am I when I don’t go to my mind for an answer? What knows cannot be known except to Itself. It is a Mystery prior to any and all concepts. We might say it is what silences every thought and every concept—even those called truth, God, Buddha, world, or the concept of a “me;” yet it is simultaneously their source.
In This that dreams the world and the play of existence each moment, everything continually appears and disappears into an ever-present Silence that knows no separation between background and foreground, divine and human, teacher and student, enlightened and unenlightened, God and flea. It is undivided Silence, empty of nothing, continually moving, continually still. It is what we are. It is where the mind cannot go, where mind must remain in unknowing.