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Silence vs. Satsang

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Q: I attended many gatherings for satsang in the last few years. It's too loud. I like silence more. But it confuses me because it is said that there's more power in doing anything together with others. Can you please explain the dichotomy? How can I pursue and start enjoying silence more? I also am interested in your introductory rate for a mentoring session.

A: There is no formula that works for everyone. If you are drawn to silence, then I would trust your inner sense of things. At some point that might also shift, and you may feel drawn again to more contact with groups, but it is normal and natural to sometimes find lots of interactions with other people too "loud" as you say. Your own heart and your deepest sense of what feels true for you is the best guide.

There is no real dichotomy here, as all spiritual practices are complimentary, not contradictory. The art is to explore them with openness and curiosity. If a particular spiritual practice or activity is meant for you at this time, it will almost immediately resonate with you and start to have a beneficial effect. If it is not meant for you, you will almost immediately feel more contracted and stirred up by the practice, or it will simply have little or no effect on you. So while it can be worthwhile to explore a range of practices and approaches, the best way to measure their appropriateness for you is to observe the direct effects they are having. This should be clear within a week or two after starting any practice.

As for silence itself, outer silence is the simplest way to experience more inner silence, so anytime you can sit still and just breath or listen to the quieter sounds of your body or of nature, that can naturally evoke more silence. There are more simple suggestions for how to meditate here, in case you are not already familiar with formal meditation: http://endless-satsang.com/super-simple-instructions-for-meditation-beginners.htm

However, there can be a kind of "noisy" silence, where you sit quietly, but your mind gets very busy and loud. That is also normal and natural. Often if you just stay with the process and allow everything to unfold, it will quiet down. This is a big part of what meditation is all about. I will share that some recent neuroscience research has suggested that this process of quieting the mind typically can take 45 minutes or more. So if you can meditate for an hour or longer at a time, you may find that the results are more effective.

Sometimes there are aspects of our conditioning or mental thought patterns that are more resistant and so cause a lot of excess mind activity. This is where a practice of inquiry can help loosen and eventually release some of the stickier conditioning we have accumulated. There are many forms of general and open-ended inquiry in addition to the more traditional and directed practice of self-inquiry that is described here: http://endless-satsang.com/the-practice-and-purpose-of-self-inquiry.htm . In essence, any deep questioning and curiosity about your thoughts and experiences and identifications can start to unravel them. You can do this inquiry on your own, and it also can be helpful to do it with a guide, either in a group setting, like satsang, or in one-on-one mentoring.

I hope this is a little helpful and do let me know if you want to have a mentoring session on the phone or skype. I just need to know what time zone you are in and what times/days work for you so I can suggest some available times. More info about the mentoring I offer is here.

Barracuda and Chub under Silversides

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