What is silence?

“From silence came thought, from thought, the ego, and from the ego, speech. So, if speech is effective, how much more so must it be at its source? What we don’t know through years of conversation, we can know with a turn of the hand in silence” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Silence. To call it a state characterized by the absence of external words or actions and internal chatter of thought is an oversimplification. The Guru of the Heart can only be realized through silence. Silence is the path to merging our spirit with its source – the inner guru, the spiritual heart.

Silence is the end of all spiritual paths, across religions and cultures. The aim of all sadhanas is to reveal one’s true nature: infinite love, peace and bliss. Whatever we focus on, contemplate or meditate on – our breath, an idol, an image, a sound, a chakra, a mantra, the sensations in our body, a color, our thoughts, a visualization – the aim is to hold the myriad thoughts in our mind and bring them to their source – the Self or Guru Heart.

“Silence is the ocean into which all the rivers of all religions flow” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Not only that, in ordinary life, our desire for certain people, objects, activities or situations is also ultimately a desire for silence . When our external reality is not conducive, we seek comfort in intoxicants such as food, sex, work, alcohol and drugs. If we think of the experience of a “high” – whether it’s an exotic dish touching our taste buds or an evening with our beloved – the “high” is characterized by the exclusion of all our internal conversations. We are not in the past or the future (as is the preoccupation of all our thoughts), but in the present. In Now. The present is pure silence. And silence is bliss.

“Atman, the Self, is realized with mruta manas, i.e. the mind devoid of thoughts and turned inward. Then the mind sees its own source and becomes That. Thus, when there is a state where words cease and silence prevails. This is the speech of the Self” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

To reach this state of silence, the first step is to turn inward. To turn our mind inward, and dissolve into the heart guru located on the right side of the chest.

“Enlightenment comes from the heart and reaches the brain, which is the seat of the mind. If the mind is turned towards the source of enlightenment, objective knowledge ceases, and the Self alone shines forth like the heart” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Through Heart Silent Meditation, sadhaks (spiritual seekers) and I sit in silence, through which I send vibrations of pure energy from my heart guru to the seeker’s heart guru.

At first, the sadhak’s mind is hyperactive, besieged by all kinds of thoughts – remembering the past, imagining the future, or a dream state. The key is to let go of passing thoughts and hold on to the unchanging Self. This can be facilitated by anchoring in the physical location of the spiritual heart. The sadhak does not need to stop thinking. Trusting only the outer guru to bring them back to the spiritual heart, the root of thought every time a thought arises. This mini-explosion of thoughts is due to the purification of accumulated vasanas, thanks to the vibrations of universal consciousness (pure energy) that I transmitted during the Silent Heart Meditation. It may also be accompanied by physical discomfort (such as back pain or heaviness in the head) or the urge to act (for example, by moving, opening the eyes or talking). What manifests itself or wishes to manifest itself through the body is also a thought. You have to observe this too, and let go.

Slowly, the mind begins to calm down. The intensity and speed of thoughts diminish. The space between thoughts is now filled with micro-moments of silence. As the pure energy vibrations of my heart guru bombard the vasanas and release them, the inner guru begins to reveal himself. Sadhaks should continue to be immersed in their spiritual heart guru throughout their lives, maintaining a deep inner awareness of the experience. Slowly, the body begins to relax, tense muscles become supple and energy begins to flow through the internal channels, lightening the head and improving blood circulation. When the body and mind rest deeply, it is natural for sadhaks to fall into a state of tamas (laziness), and even sleep. The sadhak must resolve before the session not to sleep, or to regain consciousness within a few moments, in order to fully benefit from the experience. So if you’re still falling asleep, accept it with ease and love!

With time and practice, sadhaks are able to connect deeply with my spiritual heart guru. Silent Heart Meditation enables me to pass on the essence of what I’ve learned, and to make the spiritual journey clear and effortless for my students. The creation of this invisible channel between our spiritual heart gurus enables the sadhaks and I to communicate heart-to-heart, overcoming the barriers of time and space.

As the heart continues to open, the sadhak becomes firmly established in his inner guru, his spiritual heart, an infinite source of pure love, inner peace and bliss.

“You can be at the bottom of the world and still have perfect serenity of mind; such a person is always in solitude. Another person may remain in the forest, but be unable to control his or her mind. You can’t say he’s lonely.

Solitude means silencing the mind. Where is the forest and where is the path unless they are within you?” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

After a while, this state of communion with our spiritual heart guru is no longer limited to the 30 to 60 minutes of meditation. It becomes experience through every engagement with the outside world. So there’s an inner silence even when you’re engaged. It’s immobility in motion. Like the earth revolving around the sun as you read this, without you even having the slightest idea of its movement. Without actively changing the people, situations, objects or activities in which you engage, this stillness brings about a fundamental shift in the way you engage with the world, and in turn, in those who are touched by you – an embodiment of peace, love and joy.

With sustained practice, this state becomes effortless, as our True Self should be. “Effort is a way of not getting distracted by thoughts. Having already experienced the Beatitude of Peace,[on ne s’engagera pas] otherwise. It is as difficult for a jnani (self-realized being) to engage in thought as it is for an ajnani (someone who has not realized himself) to free himself from thought” – Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Namaste Mukeshanand Brahmchari