Only Stillness Can Change Us

Jean Klein
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Your real self, your true nature is what is closest to you: it is yourself. Each step taken to reach it moves you further away from there. Attention is not inside nor outside, so you can never go to meditation. When you try to meditate you create a state, you have a goal you are trying to achieve. Meditation is not a reduction, not a kind of interiorization. So that when there is still even the slightest anticipation of going somewhere, or achieving something you go away – because meditation is your natural state, presence IS. The mind can be still from time to time, but the nature of the mind is activity, is function. Your body can be empty, relaxed from time to time, but your body is also function. It is therefore a violence against nature to attempt to stop the mind or body functions.

The mind must come to a state of silence, completely empty of fear, longing and all images. This cannot be brought about by suppression, but by observing every feeling and thought without qualification, condemnation, judgement, or comparison. If unmotivated alertness is to operate the censor must disappear. There must simply be a quiet looking at what composes the mind. In discovering the facts just as they are, agitation is eliminated, the movement of thoughts becomes slow and we can watch each thought, its cause and content as it occurs. We become aware of every thought in its completeness and in this totality there can be no conflict. Then only alertness remains, only silence in which there is neither observer nor observed. So do not force your mind. Just watch its various movements as you would look at flying birds. In this uncluttered looking all your experiences surface and unfold. For unmotivated seeing not only generates tremendous energy but frees all tension, all the various layers of inhibitions. You see the whole of yourself. Observing everything with full attention becomes a way of life, a return to your original and natural meditative being.

It is only through silent awareness that our physical and mental nature can change. This change is completely spontaneous. If we make an effort to change we do no more than shift our attention from one level, from one thing, to another. We remain in a vicious circle. This only transfers energy from one point to another. It still leaves us oscillating between suffering and pleasure, each leading inevitably back to the other. Only living stillness, stillness without someone trying to be still, is capable of undoing the conditioning our biological, emotional and psychological nature has undergone. There is no controller, no selector, no personality making choices. In choiceless living the situation is given the freedom to unfold. You do not grasp one aspect over another for there is nobody to grasp. When you understand something and live it without being stuck to the formulation, what you have understood dissolves in your openness. In this silence change takes place of its own accord, the problem is resolved and duality ends. 


Excerpted from "I Am" by Jean Klein, a philosopher of Advaita Vedanta. Source

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