Monday, May 26, 2008

Silence, Part 1: A Body from the Absolute

the genius
Originally uploaded by yves.harnois

In my last post, I mentioned the discomfort I was wrestling with. I described it as “shredding the Silence.” I’d like to try to explain that experience more closely, for it bears upon how it is we live in Silence.

Since 1975, Silence has descended upon me, sprung up around me, washed over in a splashing wave, or simply tickled my spine. Silence is the most direct approach I have to the transcendent Absolute. And lately, it has presented itself with such intensity there’s simply no way my body can absorb it, relax into it, or simply “adjust.”

It’s like trying to sit still and relax into a sustained jolt of electricity – except its utter Silence. My reaction is immediate and totally reflexive. I shut down tight and the whole jolt passes in a few seconds.

The curious thing about last week’s “shredding of the Silence” was that it seemed to be an opportunity for Silence to come into me without being immediately rejected.
More precisely - the Silence merged into one side of me.
There it met the resistance of my own body, a body formed from “Ether” rather than the usual flesh and bone or even molecules or energy and light.
Ether is the best label I can give it.
I see it as crystal clear, without even molecular or vaporous content.
It’s like heat waves rising mirage-like above the highway. Except this Ether is not hot, nor are there any waves.
But, it was there, taking up space, forming my body, and abutting with the Silence right along the midline of my physical body.
The Silence was something distinctly different from Ether. Lacking the crystal clarity of the latter, Silence was an unbounded, immaterial presence.
It was also not my body. But, it was ready to move in.
My insistence upon moving, upon thinking, upon doing anything of much consequence caused a shredding of the Ether spreading out from where it abutted with the Silence.
It was a most physical lesson on Wholeness breaking into individuality.
Wholeness became separated, even as it permeated.

It was a hard and curious lesson.
It’s a lesson that I’m kind of left to figure for myself.
The only text I can refer to are these words from Maharishi, notes I took the winter of 1974, from a video tape shown at a TM teacher retreat.
(Maharishi was actually discussing the possibility of physical immortality, but I’ve edited it for an emphasis towards my own situation.)
Where Maharishi speaks of Absolute, you can just as easily substitute the word Silence.

What ages? Certainly not consciousness. One thing that is ever the same is the field of consciousness. What ages is a product of consciousness – energy or matter, that which is the home of consciousness…that which is not changing is only the Absolute and from this it’s apparent [that] if there is a body made of Absolute, then it couldn’t change. If we can mould a form of that, then we’ll have a body structured out of that which knows no change. Whether it’s possible to have such a body – the real answer is if… we can locate a body made from the finest Relative, then we can conceive of a formless form…

Prior to transcendental experience is matter of [the] finest state of [the] physical. Physical values of life are found in finer and finer values, we know from experience. Physics say[s] “ground state”… These theories are structured through direct experience through instruments. And at each of these levels it’s possible to structure a body. If there is that matter existing, then the bodies can be molded out of that…

[The] time value of gross [level of Creation] is different from the time value of the subtle. But, we’re so habituated to feel the passage of time we feel some factor of time when we transcend. We may feel five minutes has past while meditating and we come out and thirty minutes are gone. So, the quality of life is different when bodies are structured in finer matter. On the finest level we have a word for it – celestial - where bodies are glowing with light, bodies made of light…

Biological immortality will be on the same level as the abstract immortality of consciousness. Only consciousness is non-changing. Unless one can understand that there is a material that is non-material, so concrete yet so abstract, a man cannot comprehend that until he has the experience…

Bodies made of light. Light is finer than sound. Sound is finer than waves. Consciousness is finer [than everything]. So there is that level of substance that is so refined. And as that experience becomes more and more clear, then we can conceive of a body made of the Absolute.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, LaAntilla, Spain, 1973.

It’s nice to find such passages.
It helps me trust my own experience.
(And I apologize how my editing and Maharishi’s spontaneous speech make it read a bit jumpily.)
I don’t feel nuts. But, I do feel a bit outlandish.
However, there is some very interesting biology here.
And Silence is important too…

As is comic relief.
Maharishi went on to speak of Tapas – purification of the body to refine its elements into the celestial.
During this past week, I have spontaneously become the simplest of vegetarians. No more meat for now. So, it seems some Tapas begins solely intuitively.
However, I fine it difficult to believe that my blend of decafe and regular coffee, beta blockers and calcium channel agonists is really the stuff of traditional regimens.
Which brings us back to the interesting biology of all this.

What does it take to physiologically support enlightenment?
Take a look at this video of Ramana Maharishi before you answer.

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