Withdrawal of the Mind from the Senses
1. Read the piece below. A few times during the week, journal about experiences you’ve had with silence coming from exhaustion of the senses, and silence coming from something other than exhaustion.
2. A few weeks ago, we observed the urge to distraction ourselves with something. Continue this practice and notice what impact these urges and the underlying emotions have on our baseline state of silence in the mind that we worked with last week.
Reading by Swami Veda Bharati
From the booklet Silence
We know true silence only by the symptoms – manifestations it leaves in its wake – the wake that arises from its depth. We all have a recognition of our origins being a very, very deeply eternally silent place. There is a mantle of silence under which we seek to conceal ourselves from the world of manifestations. I have reached the conclusion that we seek excitations and agitations because those excitations and agitations lead us to exhaustion. It is actually the exhaustion we are seeking, the restless kinetic form of energy. Because the large majority of us do not know the direct route into the ‘eternal rest’, we try to go to it by way of exhaustion, by resting.
Those who have begun to find that direct route, take to the path of pratyahara. What is pratyahara? Ordinarily in the spiritual circles of all the religions and all the traditions, people speak of conquering the senses, of mastering them. Pratyahara is that state when the mind has become naturally pacified and the senses reflect only the conditions of the mind; the senses that are only symptomatic of the conditions of the mind, enter the mental condition of quietness. Thereby they become just as still as the mind is. That state of integration of mind and senses into a common experience of stillness is called pratyahara. That having been arrived at, then we no longer seek the path to rest by way of exhaustion, starting out from the excitatory experiences of life.