Have you begun to embrace silence? Then you have started on your journey. As you already see, your path requires persistence. You must form the habit of silence by being silent. It won’t happen overnight. But it will happen.
But your path requires something else. This, too, you already see. You path requires courage. Each step is an act of faith. What will you find on this silent path that leads you through the darkness? Have you guessed? Have you already glimpsed it?
You will find solitude.
Now I have really done it. If you haven’t left already, you are now considering it.
It’s all too much, you say!
But please…hear me out.
This solitude of which I speak is not isolation or rejection or abandonment or any of the terrible things you might fear when you hear the word. The solitude of which I speak is a temple. A sacred space where something precious and holy resides, and if you enter into this temple, you will find it.
What? you ask. What will I find?
I tell you, you will find yourself.
Are you happy to hear that?
Does something stir inside at the thought?
Do you recoil in horror?
Shrug in boredom?
Maybe you don’t really like yourself or think you are worth the effort. Maybe you are scared of what you will find. Maybe you have already sensed in your moments of silence that such a meeting cannot occur without everything changing…without the world as you know it coming to an end! Without the earth splitting open and giving birth to something new and glorious, and so you stand now, in fear and trembling, staring at the temple in the distance, longing to enter, but terrified.
I understand. The consciousness of a human being is a weight of glory almost too great to bear. It is, after all, the reason the darkness is even there, perceiving the questions and fears its acute awareness has brought into being. If only we were like the single-cell amoeba, floating in the ocean without a care, or the fox, out searching for food in the night, driven by survival but unaware why, because it is unaware of death. Either fate sometimes seems preferable. No wonder we expend so much effort numbing, drowning, and running from the darkness!
But remember, you have stopped running.
You have crossed the threshold.
You still have much work to do–you still have deeply ingrained habits of dealing with the darkness that will only be broken through mindfulness, perseverance, and trust–but you are on your way.