Silence rises when we set our intention to honor it. It may be moonrise or sunrise; all we do is honor it. I am silent by nature and was often ashamed of it. After all, I hadn’t done anything. So the shame would force me to speak when I didn’t feel like it. And that helped nothing.
It’s not that I don’t think. For most of my life, I had what Vernon Howard called “a noisy mind.” It just wouldn’t shut the heck up. So I began to study it, at his insistence. I learned that thoughts impose themselves on us without mercy.
So the inner sentry begins to stand guard in the mind. This lets the flow of thoughts slow down, if not stop entirely. But the sentry falls asleep in a moment or two and the flow of thoughts soon takes us over again.
Silence is the place where this inner work takes place. It is the field and ground of our true nature. My friend Peter knew this. His words pointed to the place beyond thought, although he was never pedantic about it. His joy was in silence, in being a listener and a bystander to the mind.
He had sat with Robert Adams and felt the impact of such an elevated consciousness. He had also sat with others that he found empty of true wisdom and he did not hesitate to say how he felt about that.
In his last days, he became silence itself. And now, thank God, he lives on in the pages of Bigger Than the Sky. I often thumb through it, remembering his clarity and generosity. After all, it took him a long time to type out his communications to me. He wasn’t being careful; he could barely get his body to obey him. But he was not the body, not by any means. And now that he has gone, silence rises.