I met my teacher in 1979. I was living in Germany at the time and was taking a yoga class at the local Red Cross Family Center. The instructor, Roswitha, was a student of a man from India, Sri S. Rajagopalan. She invited Rajo, as he was called, to our town for a weekend seminar. I signed up for the weekend and arrived early Saturday morning to meet Rajo in the dressing room, preparing for the seminar. The moment I saw him I felt he was my brother, because he was so familiar. In short, I fell in love with yoga as Rajo presented it to us and became close friends with him. I worked with him for over 20 years and eventually taught his style of yoga for many years in Germany, as well as in other parts of the world. When asked by my students what kind of yoga I teach, I tell them that I teach a form of yoga that allows me to access an experience of silence as the underlying substratum of existence. This is what Rajo initiated his students into as an understanding of the deeper meaning of yoga. He facilitated the experience of Silence with a capital “S” as the ever-present quality of reality that is always there for us to connect with. When we do, everything in our life takes on this quality and daily life is transformed.
The following meditation, which Rajo gave us, has become a mantra for me. When I follow the phases it outlines with my conscious awareness, I am led to the threshold of Silence and can readily open up to its dimension.
Look into the body.
Inside the body is space.
The space inside the body is vast, unlimited.
Look into the vast, unlimited space inside the body and smile into the space.
~ ~ ~
In the space inside the body there is silence.
The silence in the space is vast, unlimited.
Look into the silence in the space inside the body
and smile into the silence.
Over the years I have come to realize the following:
- The space inside the body can refer to the individual body that each of us feels is “our” body and it can also refer to the body as the world of form, the manifested world. In that sense we can see the whole world as one body and we generally only look at space as the distance between two objects. To see space inside of the entire manifested reality as vast and unlimited gives a radically different perspective. And yet, we access this new perspective by looking, as it were, inside our body and directing our attention inward. “The space inside the body”: this idea is a portal to the inner dimension of all form or all physical manifestation, in which all separate forms are felt as only relatively independent. The underlying unity and “inter-being” of all forms is accessed on a non-thought level.
- Smiling into the space is an active inner movement of acceptance and appreciation of the manifested world as we know it. Our inner poise and feeling tone change with the act of smiling. Smiling opens up the psychosomatic organism to the frequency of the vastness, which is the frequencies of infinity and eternity. These frequencies are not felt as a danger or threat because the smile in an energy of friendliness. Smiling into the vast and unlimited space is like smiling to a friend and thus I am open to its messages and its gifts, which are many and varied. The same holds true for smiling into the Silence.
- To see the Silence in the space as vast and unlimited is to become aware of the fact that this Silence is not the absence of sound or noise. It cannot be limited and so it cannot be interrupted by sounds or movements. Rather, it encompasses these and so sounds and movements arise from within the Silence, move through the Silence for a time and then subside back into the Silence. To look into the Silence is to direct one’s attention and conscious focus toward this ineffable quality of the all-encompassing Silence out of which all form comes and into which all form returns. We are called to look inward toward our source.
- To smile into the Silence is to recognize it as oneself and so to smile to one’s own deepest or highest self. We are prompted to turn our beacon of appreciation and affection onto this reflection of our own essence that we here are calling “Silence”. In this quality of conscious awareness we are awareness turning its focus onto itself as Silence. This is the act of directly connecting with our own source.
- When I, as awareness embodied, direct my energy (as my conscious focus) into the unlimited quality of awareness, an energy loop is created and this can precipitate a new quality (almost like a quantum leap) of awareness, which thought cannot contain. It is the direct connection with the source; it dissolves all fear and is accompanied by a sense of deep benediction.. The smile is relaxing, allowing the vastness to enter my awareness. However, it only comes into my awareness on its own terms; I have no power to control or affect it. When it arises as the primordial Reality into my perception, it is always unexpected, stark and unmitigated by the mind.
This meditation was always spoken by Rajo during seminars at a point at which the students had come to a resting point after several asanas or breathing phases. The students were then peaceful and were able to focus on this meditation in a relaxed yet alert way. If you want to follow the steps of the above “Silence Meditation,” I suggest that you do some simple, mindful breathing or body movements first in order to prepare. My realizations above are what this contemplation on Silence has shown me. You will find that over time this meditation will reveal (in a personal way) what Silence means for you. What follows is an excerpt from Krishnamurti’s Notebook in which he attempts to describe some of the quality of what I above have called “Silence”. His notes from a journal he kept for about seven months in 1961 can give us a taste of his perception of this immensity in which we are embedded.
The room became full with that benediction. Now what followed is almost impossible to put down in words; words are such dead things, with definite set meaning and what took place was beyond all words and description. It was the centre of all creation; it was a purifying seriousness that cleansed the brain of every thought and feeling; its seriousness was as lightning which destroys and burns up; the profundity of it was not measurable, it was there immovable, impenetrable, a solidity that was as light as the heavens. It was in the eyes, in the breath. It was in the eyes and the eyes could see. The eyes that saw, that looked were wholly different from the eyes of the organ and yet they were the same eyes. There was only seeing, the eyes that saw beyond time-space. There was impenetrable dignity and a peace that was the essence of all movement, action. No virtue touched it for it was beyond all virtue and sanctions of man. There was love that was utterly perishable and so it had the delicacy of all new things, vulnerable, destructible and yet it was beyond all this. It was there imperishable, unnameable, the unknowing. No thought could ever penetrate it; no action could ever touch it. It was “pure”, untouched and so ever dyingly beautiful. All this seemed to affect the brain; it was not as it was before. (Thought is such a trivial thing, necessary but trivial.) Because of it, relationship seems to have changed. As a terrific storm, a destructive earthquake gives a new course to the rivers, changes the landscape, digs deep into the earth, so it has leveled the contours of thought, changed the shape of the heart. The whole process is going on as usual, in spite of cold and feverish state. It has become more acute and more insistent. One wonders how long the body can carry on. Yesterday, as we were walking up a beautiful narrow valley, its steep sides dark with pines and green fields full of wild flowers, suddenly, most unexpectedly, for we were talking of other things, a benediction descended upon us, like gentle rain. We became the centre of it. It was gentle, pressing, infinitely tender and peaceful, enfolding us in a power that was beyond all fault and reason. Early this morning, on waking, changing, changeless purifying seriousness and an ecstasy that had no cause. It simply was there. And during the day, whatever one did it was there in the background and it came directly and immediately to the fore when one was quiet. There is an urgency and beauty in it. No imagination or desire could ever formulate such profound seriousness. Krishnamurti Notebook p. 27, 28 PDF