Silence is The Future — Words Will Be Here, but Our Intuition Will Allow Us To See The Power of Silence.

Silence Has An Immense Hidden Power

Photo by Ernie A. Stephens on Unsplash

In a world overflowing with information and talking heads proliferating faster than rabbits in a viagra trial, the power of silence often gets overlooked. Over the centuries, true silence has held a secret allure and a mysterious wisdom. It’s time we reinstate our recognition of the power of silence.

True Silence reflects your own noise back to you.

When you can hear your own cacophny, you second guess even your brighest ideas.

True reflection brings a winnowing of the mediocrity and allows a higher truth to emerge.

I have a confession. Ever since I was in highschool I developed an immense respect for holy men. They, in some ways, became my superheroes. While studying how to fly planes, and with grand plans to join the AirForce Academy, in the quiet of my highschool library, I suddenly found myself magneticly enthralled by a book about world religions.

In many ways, it was the beginning of a huge psychological schism, that I still struggle with to this day. I wanted to be Maverick, you see. I drove fast, extremely fast, and wrecked cars often. I knew I was smart. I was already flying three times a week and well on my way to a private’s pilot’s licence. I was in the ROTC, which is the recruitment pipeline that starts in highschool for the Military. I was on the Rifle team and a damned good shot. I drank a lot and was cocky and arrogant and extremely self-assured.

And here I was, fascinated by the Taoist philosophy. Magnetically captured by the simple black and white ink drawings of chinese mountains. My soul was entralled by the simplicity of the first famous minimalist. Lao Tzu and his simple robe and nameless name. The fullness in the emptiness of it all. This great surrender to the majesty of nature through the surrender of the ego. Something in me was stirred and my soul was hooked.

I always liked the phrase, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” And yet, that’s what society does. Ever since I can remember, people asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. One of the most asked questions, even in adult life, is ‘What do you do?’. Ostensibly, we’re all supposed to be doing something extremely meaningful with our life. If not meaninful, then we should at least have a clear answer, fill some defined role, play our part in the great mechanism of society, not be a ‘leech on the system’ and all of that.

When I was a kid, and everyone asked me this, I had no idea that no one who was asking actually had their shit together. The fact that most of them got blitzed drunk on the weekend, or held it togehter with pharmaceuticals, or whose inner lives were full of strife and suffering and confusion, passed me by. They were nice people, friends of friends and friends of parents, but most of all, they came from the world of big people : their authority came from their height.

And so, when they asked me what I wanted to be, and “I have no f*#ing clue, gimme a decade or too will ya” seemed like an inappropriate response, my 12 year old psyche was hard-pressed to find an answer. And any new age guru will tell you that if you give your psyche enough pressure and an adequete question, it will surely deliver you with a clear result.

We had just got our first Dolby Surround Sound system installed in the new basement addition of our house. The kind with speakers in front and behind and all around. The kind of sound system that shakes the house and rattles the paintings on the wall. The kind of sound system that reverbates through your cells and activates your entire limbic system. The first DVD we watched as a family was “Top Gun”. The original one.

As the silloutes of the flight deck crew and sexy F-14 fighter jets, shrouded in smoke, floated over the screen something in me aligned. As the Jet Blast Deflectors slowly rose, and the F-14 fired its dragon breath afterburners my heart quickened. And then, of course, the opening verse :

Revvin’ up your engine

Listen to her howlin’ roar

Metal under tension

Beggin’ you to touch and go

I was sold. My nervous system was sold. This. This is IT! I had my answer to their questions. To societies questions. To the great demand of the world. I knew what I wanted to do! I’d found my great vocation in life.

I was so emotionally and mentally sold. It was the sexiest, most badass thing in my world. It captivated something deep in my Soul I knew this was it. It was dangerous, fast, loud, sexy, and existed in an entirely other dimension than my normal 12 year old life.

This was the cart. Our career choice, and societies insistence on discovering our role, is the cart.

Years later, the profound truth of the world hit me hard. World wars and poverty and corruption and fighting over resources and ecocide and rape and mental illness and suicide and depression and pillaging of nations for greed. The cognitive dissonace of the world came shattering down on me. I had chosen to dedicate my life to something at 12 years old. Something I had no idea about. This is the problem. The world is extremely complex. Humans are by nature full of contradictions. Society has countless strands of invisible forces pulling at the human psyche and has no internal harmony nor aligned teleological direction. This is the horse. The immense power of the pull of the world, as blind as it is, is a force we rarely take seriously. And so, it’s easier to put the cart before the horse, because in reality, we have no idea about the horse.

We don’t know the world.

We don’t know ourselves.

Yet, we’re expected to act in the world and take serious decisions from a place of ignorance.

All becuase the world wants us to hurry up and be productive.

At all costs.

I signed the dotted line fresh out of highschool. I was 18. I graduated. I still wanted to fly jets. The military was the best option. I signed up for six years.

3 months later 9/11 happened. I watched the planes fall from my dad’s pool and spa shop. My cousin and I were cleaning a pool that morning. The planes crashing into the towers sent chills down my spine and I knew the world would never be the same. My cousin panicked. That afternoon we went to a pawn shop and I think he bought a gun.

6 months later I was shipped to basic training. 2 weeks later I realized I was in a weird type of mass cult. They all meant well. It seemed. But something was severely off.

2 years later, I switched my degree from Aviation to History. Then, I started to learn just how dark the world was. I studied the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Colonization of the America’s, Early Christian History. I learned what doensn’t make it to Hollywood. What doesn’t get a sexy movie with hypnotic lyrics. I wrote a paper on the Mai-Lai massacre. I saw how frenzied my military colleagues were about war in the middle east. I respected them and knew they meant well. They had good hearts. But there was something inside of them that was bloodthirsty. I read too much. I was too honest with myself. I was too honest with my heart. No, flying fighter jets was not for me.

Years later I learned that Top-Gun was one of most funded productions by the US Navy as a tool for propganda. When it came out, according to some estimates, recruitment went up that year by 500%. My emotional reaction, my fervor, the redirection of my entire life force, was playing hook, line and sinker into the nefarious psychological operation of one of the most powerful institutions on the planet.

I discovered Zen meditation when I was 20. It brought a shit load of confusion but it also brought a deep awakening. Sitting in the small blue tile roofed Korean Zen temple for long hours at a time in the middle of the scorching Kentucky summer, I learned the most profound lesson of my life. The Zen master, with his quiet and simple immediacy, his humble authority, urged us to do one thing. To inquire within. To listen. To listen deeply. Without phones or books or television or internet, to sit quietly amongst the crickets and cicadas, the pileated woodpeckers and the cardinals and the occasional bluejay. To listen from our hearts. Once deep listening is awakened, there is no turning back. As the saying goes, ‘You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube.’

When I learned to listen I heard contradictions all around me. In fact, I saw that most of the world was a contradiction. We move with a momemtum that is faster than we can imagine. Our actions lay the pathway for countless unseen causes and, being trapped in the need to act, we perpetuate countless suffering that ripples in all directions.

Silence allowed me to see through the distortion, even of my own mind. Silence allwed me to see that we are constantly being pulled in many directions, that invisible forces play for our attention, our fidelity, our life force, our time, our curiosity. Silence allowed me to step back and find something that wasn’t in such a rush.

As my journey into spirituality deepened there was one resounding theme that struck over and over. The great saints were masters of Silence. Their abode was silence. Silence surrounded them. They spent years and years in their own Silence. Their silence was so profound that when common people — common people with otherwise loud minds — came near them, they too, would fall silent. When I had the opportunity to be around some of the modern saints and gurus, their silence was so palaple that my own racing mind, full of delusion and contradiction, became embarrassingly obvious. I lived, like many of us do, habituated to my own minds dialogue. It was normal to me, even though I was an avowed ‘meditator’. When around the giants of spirituality, my mind felt like a bustling city market, or a non-stop radio broadcaster incessantly ranting into the ether. Without the reflection of real silence, I would have continued listening to the banter of my own thoughts.

Silence has an authority.

Silence has a power.

Silence is our greatest teacher.

There is an ongoing debate around the existence of God. One of the most famous modern author’s Yuval Noah Hariri, thinks all religion is just imagination. The delusion of our species in the vain attempt to find some higher organizing power that gives meaning to our otherwise random existence. There are many others, sycophants of science, who rely on the altar of reason to guide their way. Fair enough. Reason has its role. The rational mind has its role. Our analysis of the world can take us to a certain degree of clarity, of objectivity. But reason is rarely silent. Reason dissects, breaks apart, discerns, and with all its data points establishes a position; A conjecture, a hypothesis, an opinion, and stakes its claim in them. All well and fine, except, it’s not silent.

The rational mind is forever humming with its own words, its own language, its own conviction, its own concepts. Sound, lucid and clear, in and of itself, but when it meets silence, it falls flat.

Silence is before. It is invisible but has a power. It has a presence. You can feel it now. Silence is illuminating your inner expereince. It is the highlighting awaress that even allows you to perceive the thoughts you hold so dear. It is prior to thought. And will exists after thought. Silence is immune to the arguments of the mind. Immune to our hubris. Our convictions. It is.

The authority of Silence will guide us into the future. When we begin to listen. Truly listen. Listen from the depths of our hearts. Not only to each other, but to our own minds, we will begin to see. We will begin to see that there is something more important than the competing ideas. Something more universal than our insistence on differnce. This unifying princple will become clear. Our primordial ‘oneness’ will assert its obvious nature. The sage in us will awaken. Our connection to nature will be reigntied, resanctified, through the medium of silence. Our words will find their original meaning, their artistic value, against the backdrop of silence.

In silence we will find deep peace.

In silence we will reconnect to the princpile of divinity we have sought for all these years in all these words.

In silence we will reharmonize with the organizing prinicple of the universe.

In silence we will find wholeness again.

Silence is the future.

Silence will guide us to where we want to go.

Practice Silence everyday.

Deepen your own connection to Silence and watch the clarity in your life amplify.

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John Vincent Shrader

John is a yogi, visionary and author residing in India. He has dedicated his life to the eternal search for truth .