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Most people feel that that the silence that comes to you, is somehow more natural than the silence you force upon yourself by 'doing' silent meditation. But you can also understand that when the silence is coming to a body system that is not familiar with silence, it will be hard for it to stay.
Vimala Thakar wrote about it in her book 'Glimpses of Raya Yoga', that our modern society is so focused on activity, that it ignores the dimension of Silence or motionlessness. We have almost no experience with it. And life is both: it is the dimension of movement - including our inner motions of thinking, knowing, experiencing, organizing relationships etc. - and the dimension of silence which is complete freedom from movement, thoughts, complete freedom of sound or verbalization and also freedom from the movement of relationships.
She says: So there is the necessity of self-education. We have to learn to educate ourselves for growing into the dimension of stillness, of motionlessness, of sound and thought freeness and aloneness.
Vimala points out that there are three aspects in this process of self learning for growing into the dimension of stillness:
Educating the body in steadiness.
Educating the senses to stop looking for impulses.
Abstain from speaking, with others as well as into yourself.
These aspects are often neglected. Also in Clarity! We are basically preparing ourselves for the silence that comes to us. For example in the end of a QLB, after an intuitive dialogue, after a transformation or a trapdoor game. This silence then comes very natural to us, and is so good to be in. But unfortunately it usually does not stay with us very long. Body and mind soon get impulses to start moving again, and we go with that.
How it crossed my path
After three years of intensive Clarity Training I noticed that I got stuck at a certain level. My mind was not able to be steady enough for me to break through to the next level. It was still too much trying to achieve things. Intellectually it was clear to me what the next step should be, but my body and mind were not able to do what was necessary. So after reading 'The Three Pillars of Zen' by Philip Kapleau, I started Zen meditation. Every day sitting motionless for half an hour to an hour, telling the mind to focus on the breath only. That does not sound very friendly and rather imposed upon, but intuitively I understood that my system could not move forward because it did not have a particular skill, the skill Vimala so beautifully expressed by: being equipped to reside in the dimension of stillness.
Make it practical and specific
Start basically with learning your body to be still. Set your MotivAider or alarm, put the body in a posture which is convenient and alert and persuade it to be steady for 20 minutes. Whether you'd like to move intensely afterwards or before you start, is not important. Do what you need to do to refrain from movement for those 20 minutes, to be in motionlessness.
And then you close your eyes, as a symbol for the senses to stop looking for impulses in the outside world. To stop having to give you 'experiences', also no inner experiences. You focus your awareness on the breath.
Thirdly you refrain from verbalizing. This is not just about speaking, but also about verbalizing within yourselves. That is not easy as long as the mind wants to have experiences and is occupied with your relationships to other people.
This is where Clarity is great!
For people who practice only silence meditation, the latter is pretty hard. But it is the strength of Clarity! The Clarity Process has exactly the techniques that you need to trace back those deep unconscious impulses to their roots. With the Clarity tools I can help uncinscious impulses of mind and body to relax, by finding the source and examine whether it is linked to an old survival mechanism, and then deactivate it.
Educate your system
But are your body and mind equipped enough to remain in that state of peace and silence? My own system wasn't. I had to train it. And that has unquestionably laid the foundation for the leap in consciousness that was possible three years later. Earlier, there were glimpses, vistas, but they did not last.
Clear away subconscious fears
Obviously is was not just the ability to be in stillness that was lacking. Also the subconscious had to be cleared from fear on a deeper level. The glimpses have a function in that too. They give a taste of a reality that is so unfamiliar for a mind that is used to approach the world through language and images, that the first glimpses very often activate huge subconscious fears. Fear of the positive of course, but fear is fear. It closes you down. And there Clarity had the perfect tools to help me resolve them.
Clarity and silence: the golden combination
When I discovered how strongly the Clarity work benefited from training stillness, I started to organize Silent Clarity retreats in the mid nineties. First for my fellow Inner Core group members, and after Jeru had passed away also for the other people of his groups. Basically because I wanted to do one myself every year!
The current Inner Core Group is organizing one as well (go to www.tsuki.org/aanbod/overigen/). Everyone who is doing the Clarity Inner Core or has been doing it, can join their retreat.
Do you feel like making more space for the dimension of stillness?
What makes this retreat so special is that it will not be just sitting. We will use the Clarity tools intensively as well. This will boost your process because you are not only training yourself to be in the dimension of stillness, you also using the tools that bring this stillness to you in a natural way!
And, as Vimala writes so beautifully: Once you have tasted the nectar of Silence, then whether your eyes are open or closed, it does not make any difference. Once you have tasted the nectar of that dimension, then it does not matter whether you are sitting in a room or working in a office or the kitchen, or talking to people, the quality of aloneness, the quality of motionlessness, the quality of thought freeness does not get affected by physical or verbal movement.
The dimension of Silence will open you up to an alternative way of living
In our Retreat I will use my years of experience in Zen, Vipassana and Clarity to guide you, to challenge and inspire you, to lay down a structure for you to make your own journey.
Silence is not boring! Not at all. This dimension, that is free of movement, relationship, thoughts, measurements, concepts and judgements ís reality. Is Life. The divine that cannot be put into words, the divine that you are. This is the encounter where it is all about when you are looking for an answer to the question 'Who am I?' It will allow an alternative way of living to come into being.
For the first time in English
The last years interest for Silent Clarity Retreats was basically by German speaking people. It will be in English now for the first time. The retreat is intended as an elaboration for former Inner Core members. But others who have enough experience with the Clarity tools to use them on their own, are very welcome too.