Moses retreated to the mountaintop alone, Muhammad retreated to a cave alone, Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree alone, Jesus retreated to the desert alone. All of the ancient mystics from all over the world have one thing in common; still, silent retreat to face themselves alone.
Know Thyself, knowing oneself is what still silent retreat facilitates. One can examine their relationship to others and themselves. One can feel the core essence of their being. One can experience the silent voice that is so easily ignored, drowned out, in day to day life. That silent voice that asks - 'what's the hurry?' The voice that knows what you really want and why you don't comprehend the reason for your wanting. The silence that guides us to our heart space, that space in us all where meaningful clarification is. That space in us that knows all, understands all and is at peace with all. Silent stillness and inhabiting our heart space, if even for a little while, re-calibrates our beings. Every cell in our body remembers it's purpose, our minds relax and our hearts soar. This is the space where nothing is needed, yet everything you can imagine is.
With the necessary demands of life, family, job, financial obligations and other time and energy sapping routines of life, it can seem difficult to carve out even a few minutes for self-care, self renewing, practices and the desire to ponder the mysteries of life. So we adopt cultural/religious legends and myths as literal truth. We lay all of our cares and assign our transgressions to Jesus for 'salvation', Moses, another savior archetype, led his people 'the chosen ones', out of bondage, Muhammad received instructions from the archangel Gabriel and uplifted his people. All of those archetypes have become stale tales used to lead people away from themselves, away from self-knowledge and understanding. I find it highly ironic that Christians for example, ignore the instruction of Jesus that "the temple is within". The heart space, the temple within.
My friend Dr. Alexander Riegal writes beautifully about the mystical practice termed Kardia Psychology. The practice of consciously inhabiting the heart space of being. Alex relates - "Our modern world is desperately in need of a spiritual depth that can enliven, inform, and guide us as we maneuver through our increasing rationalistic, technological, and materialistic world. The esoteric knowledge gained through mystical experience occurs at a deeper level of our being than does the modern world, and therefore provides us a more meaningful ground from which to live."
Becoming re-acquainted with ones inner conscious being, ones heart space; that space we inhabited so naturally and comfortably as children, is the mystic's vocation. It need not take arduous quests of self denial or torturous self inflicted pain to accomplish. However, it does require a disciplined, sustained effort. A willingness to be uncompromisingly honest with oneself.
The journey can begin simply with just 15-20 minutes a day sitting alone with ones thoughts...not judging the thoughts or ideas, just observing oneself. Do not try to quiet your mind, just sit with eyes closed and watching yourself, your inner workings. That gives you 'in-sight', you're learning your ego mind's habit pattern. Then after a time of just sitting, when you feel ready, try to focus on your breathing, continue to let your thoughts happen, but fix your focus on your breath. Simply breathe naturally, don't force inhales or exhales, simply feel the breathing process...focus on it.
When you've sufficiently mastered your focus on breathing, then go for conscious breathing with purpose. Thoughts are still happening, thoughts always happen, thoughts never cease, not even when we're sleeping, but now our attention is past mind and thoughts, our attention is on being and breathing. When you're proficient at focused breathing. Then simply listen for the silence. The silence is always with us, just as our thoughts are. The silent still presence is over shadowed by the ego mind. However, you've now through disciplined practice learned to focus deeper than the ego mind. DO NOT struggle with your ego mind, let it be, when you notice a thought let it pass untouched by your attention and return your focus to the silence, the stillness within. According to your commitment level, consistent effort and practice; sitting in silent stillness for extended periods can be accomplished in a matter of months, but, be mindful, it's never the destination, it's about the journey, the journey within.
The journey never ends, it deepens, it heightens, it frightens and exhilarates. You will go down the rabbit hole and emerge with ancient wisdom, wisdom whispered without words in silence, the wisdom encoded into your heart at the creation of the universe. Yes you were present for creation, you, we, created this. I've had meditation sittings that carried me for days, percolating wisdom from my heart in golden nuggets of energy and feelings. You're meeting the deeper you, the higher mind you. The you your ego cannot comprehend, yet still respects. The ego will claim the higher mind for itself; let it. The higher mind will council your ego to maturity. Yes, you'll still endure the travails of life. But you will manage those with a depth of being that cannot be shaken, yes you will cry, but your cries will be cleansing, you will laugh, but your laughs will be joyous, natural, cleansing. Your desires will be deeper, more erotic, heartfelt, literally. You will begin to blurt words of wisdom without consciously knowing how you know that.
So, I won't ask you to begin this journey and tell me how you feel in a week. Tell me how you feel in a year. I won't tell you to do this everyday, do if at all possible. I will ask you to do this regularly. The subtle energy transformation from a regular (daily if possible) practice, will be astonishing to you this time next year. Take the first step, simply sit and watch yourself.
Does God have a plan for you?
By becoming adept at this practice you will have a plan for God.
Sharing my experience...with Love