"Transcendent Flight" image ©2021 Eric Platt
"Transcendent Flight" image ©2021 Eric Platt

Silent Mind, Revisited

 
(An older, longer, more elaborate essay on “True Meditation: A Quiet Mind Versus A Silent Mind” can be found here)

“To sum up the whole thing, it’s very simple. It’s the old dictum ‘Thou art that.’ And the way to know that is to be still. Being still is simply stilling of the mind until there are no more thoughts.
So this infinite being that we are, we discover by just quieting our minds. And when we do that, the infinite Self shines on its own, and where no thought rises, there we find God, our infinite Self.”

~ Lester Levenson

Now, in theory, that infinite stillness is there always, behind all thoughts, thinking, mind activity, all life happenings – behind the experience thereof. But, we aren’t aware of it, aren’t knowing it, living it. So everyone, or most everyone on some kind of meditative or spiritual type path, wants to know how to achieve that, live that, and stop falling into what is called “ignorance”, and stop the agitation and noisy mind chatter – stop getting sucked in, caught up, or stuck into thought, what we call “the mind”.

The first step is to realize there is no separate person, no entity, really, trying to do this. In fact it’s that assumption, that a person or mind has to do something and fix a problem that’s the culprit in the first place. All that effort, that assumption of a separate mind trying to control a mind, makes no sense if you think about it deeply. Like Ramana Maharshi famously said, “How many minds have you?”

It’s kind of a joke. Thinking we can control the mind. Who is controlling the mind? What is doing it? Even if you think it’s the brain, then you are implying that one part of the brain controls another, and you have to ask, “OK well what controls the first part? And then what controls that? Where does the buck stop?” You see where this is going? Look for causes and conditions and a linear thought or other process is a losing game. Or a funny one… where do we start?

Obviously we can’t start with the mind, because that’s more mind. We can’t figure it out, unless the figuring out leads us on a wild goose chase, a dead end that ends the thinking with a laugh. Hitting a wall is where we start, in that case. And that wall is the path.

Better to simply be still. But how? All these automatic processes, the uncontrolled thoughts, seem to have a life of their own.

It’s very difficult, it seems, to give a “how” when there is no how, when it’s more of a not-holding to thought. The mind wants a “how”. Obviously it doesn’t make any sense to make an effort to get rid of effort, to use the effort-ing mind, a wave, to get rid of waves. The problem, so to speak, is even after the paradoxes are seen, contradictions revealed — the reasoning gets used to allow an insight like this — even then all the so-called impulses, the unconscious movements, the stuff that comes up, the beliefs and desires and fears and images and impulses and reactions and on and on, bubble up, or seem to take control, raise their troublesome heads…

So these techniques and paths have all kinds of practices and wisdom regarding what to do, and what it means to purify the self, improve the self, bring one closer to the possibility of enlightenment, or whatever the goal is seen as. But this again assumes there is some entity needing purification and improvement, and some goal in the future. This is how we get the Myth of Enlightenment: that people become enlightened. That there are people and there is a becoming. In fact, it’s more like:

Enlightenment itself un-people’s itself.

In other words, consciousness, awareness, or should we say Universal Consciousness, the infinite intelligence that we are, holds all the cards, always, whether we see it, know it, or not.

 
All these fun word games and explorations aside, it always comes down to:

What to do?*

Or, to expand that a little: What to do when there is nothing to do and nowhere to go?

Well, it depends on where you are coming from. If you are coming from the stillness telling you what to do, that’s one answer, and if you coming from the mind telling you what to do, that’s another answer.
And besides, who is the “who” that is getting the answer? It’s simply the mind, in this case. The instrument gets a message, either from a “good” place (of intelligence, reality,) or a deceptive place, an old a re-used place repeating the mechanical answers from the past, the habitual thinking. Some of that old thinking is useful – the practical stuff, and the data we use to help find an answer. But then it has to be dropped.

So how long do we continue this game, of pretending we don’t know what we really know, at some level so to speak?

“Our attention is pointed away from our natural state of full realization. We are fully realized here and now. We are simply looking away from it.”
~ Lester Levenson

Until we are done with it, finished, not interested. You could say it’s a choice by consciousness.

When you’ve won a pot of gold — one you were sitting on the whole time it turns out — invest wisely, and also be free to spend it, and have a happy, peaceful, enjoyable, fun good time. 🙂

 
 
*Some Methods of Lester Levenson:
(https://youtu.be/DIN-5Bn2bOg)
1. As you see the world, so are you.

2. See the Real Source of Misery and Happiness: Every bit of joy that we feel, is nothing but our very own self, the infinite self which we allow to express more or less. … If we trace the source of misery, it is ego desires [sense of separate self] frustrated.

3. Think what you want, think only what you want, and that is all that you will ever get. The mind is only a creator.

4. Freedom, Liberation, Moksha. What is it we want liberation from? The thing we want liberation from it essentially what the world calls today the unconscious mind, the Vedas called “Vasanas”, tendencies, habits. So this freedom that we are seeking is simply freedom from or own thought patterns.
Change a small habit first. … breaking a bondage, an unconscious thing, an enslavement to a prior thought. … then you can go after deeper and deeper habits. Then eventually in one lump sum you can drop the whole thing.

 

meestereric

4 Comments

  1. Ric West on November 10, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Great paper. Far too often, most teachings (regarding what the teacher may say) are wrongly interpreted as some form of doing or controlling… specifically, the controlling of thought. This article clearly puts this in perspective.
    Ric

    • meestereric on November 11, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Ric. It’s a difficult thing to point out, in that one doesn’t really see it until you see it, which requires a certain maturity of seeing you could say… so then why even say it? Because I enjoy writing, and who knows, perhaps for someone it could open something up, as a pointer (not to mention I grow with these explorations, expressions and dialogues, meditations…often)… or down the road a little light goes off… either way it doesn’t matter. But we do have a certain obligation, spiritually speaking (and everything is spiritual and not spiritual) to help non-other others.

      But the gentle effortless happening of “not holding”, more like a natural, impersonal event of allowing by and of the true self, than a command to “let go” – could come out of the effort needed to be directed towards the awareness of and un-clenching a fist you’ve been unconsciously clenching for millennia – was a very clear experience for me, and I think more clearly and accurately expresses what is going on, in contrast to any attempt to control or do “mindfulness” training, which by nature doesn’t last. In the end, you have to point to true nature, or the whole pursuit is just a sideshow, an off road adventure. Nothing wrong with that, but ya gotta go Home sometime… :))

  2. Brian Starr on November 11, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Hello Eric,
    As always, thank you for sharing your writing – I am often struck with how your writing speaks directly to an inquiry I might be pondering.
    The essay you link to at the top has been a favourite of mine for some time. And this one again speaks to the “mind’s” struggle of attaining a true silence. The good news (for the little self me) is, between your sharing your writing, as well as frequently referring to books and links like those by Francis Lucille, I am more “aware,” or silent, every moment, and the pure and simple beautiful joy that brings as I “touch” that Self (even for a moment), is, as you have mentioned in one form or another, the sweetness of Life.
    Your joy and happiness is so evident – and I always want to comment on every article I read – but then recall, we are alOne and there is no need to comment, you already know it! But still, I truly thank you for everything you’ve shared on this website – it has been amazing for me.

    • meestereric on November 12, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Brian.

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