|AHYMSIN newsletter, issue - July 2011|
Surrender to the Wave of Silence
New Jersey, May 2011
by Jim Whiting
"It is time to become the teaching. It is time to become the teacher," with these words, I went out into the world to begin my journey.
It has been seven years; I have become a teacher, exploring the wilderness. Learning and re-learning with my new eyes, wandering with beginners eyes.
There are many of us now. The paths of light are growing, spreading that ancient traveler to all points of the globe. Swami Rama continues to ripple throughout the ocean, throughout the unified field. The internet has been busy documenting his ripple, and connecting us. AHYMSIN, Swami Veda, The Meditation Center, the Rishikesh Ashram.
Word comes through the ripple, a silent retreat being held in New Jersey, USA. The teachings of Swami Veda. Surrender to the Wave of Silence, led by Stoma, Dr Stephen Parker.
I had done this before, going into silence benefitted me greatly. This could be what I am looking for, what I am seeking. The retreat is organized by Barbara Aschettino and Janice Englund, fellow seekers on the Himalayan path.
I make my way toward the silence.
The event is hosted at the Stella Maris Retreat Center, a beautiful sea side sanctuary cared for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.
Three hours from my hometown, I have time to contemplate the gravity of coming events. Silence. How far my busy mind seems from those calm waters.
Stoma leads us into the moment, silence begins with the opening ceremony.
It isn't long into the retreat before I am made aware of just how far I must go to become accustomed to not expressing verbally. The schedule consists of hatha in the morning, meditation, meals, and studying at the feet of the teacher.
Stoma is steeped in the knowledge, mythology, the genealogy of our tradition.
I am humbled by this experience.
My beginner’s eyes soak up his teaching.
It is the meals that feel most awkward. It has been a long time since I ate in silence, sharing breaking bread, with only my eyes to communicate.
Stoma explains that silence is a form of fasting.
When we withdraw anything-food, words, thoughts, the senses, we are fasting.
My fasting continues, my silence deepens.
I requested to be initiated. Rather, re-initiated. Part of the calling that led me here was to be initiated back into the tradition. To come home. To ready myself, I read Swami Veda's preparation for going into silence, and the meaning of mantra. Still, I was unprepared for what happened.
The schedule for initiation was set, 7:00 PM, after a full day's activities. The initiates are to wait in meditation to be summoned.
7:00 PM. Six or seven of us sit in silence, waiting to receive the gift of mantra. This is what I have been waiting for.
Everything that had gone before, anger, frustration, seems distant. Another lifetime ago, as if it was someone else entirely.
The silence wave deepens...
During one of the daily lessons Stoma explains — the silent practice can be extended into 10, 30, 90 days, and sometimes even years. At that point, it can become a choice of if you ever want to speak again. It could become your chosen path.
During our daily routine, we walk along the shore. Drawn to the ocean. Watching the tide coming in and going out. The sound is always in the background, we are that close to the sea. As I slip deeper into silence, my breath begins to synchronize with the waves crashing into the shore. Every breath is an ocean, every breath the tide coming in and going out.
The sound of the tide becomes my mantra.
Jim Whiting teaches in New York state in the United States. His website: http://www.jimwhiting.net/home.html