Emptiness, Inner Silence, Nonduality and Meditation
By Remez Sasson
Regular practice of meditation can lead to experiencing brief flashes of inner silence, or as some spiritual traditions call it, emptiness. As one progresses with meditation, and meditation gets steadier and deeper, these brief moments, which may last for split seconds in the beginning, get longer and deeper. In time, the inner silence or sense of inner emptiness can be experienced not only while meditating, but also in everyday life too.
The state of inner silence - emptiness requires some clarification. It is not a morbid state of indifference, numbness and lack of energy. It is not a state of lack of life force, zest and confidence and of feeling worthless. It is not the emptiness and silence of nothingness or darkness, but the majestic emptiness and vastness of endless and limitless space, full of life and light.
It is an uplifting and blissful experience, brought about when the mind and the thinking process slow down or stop their restless and erratic activity, without losing consciousness or awareness. In this state you are completely conscious and alive, blissful and peaceful, without thoughts, boundaries or limitations.
At these moments you experience a sense of expanded consciousness-awareness and nonduality. There are no thoughts such as "I am not thinking now", "My mind is silent" or "I am experiencing emptiness". You just feel peaceful and blissful, forgetting about your personality-ego and just BE.
This inner experience is accompanied by a sense of bliss, inner peace and inner silence. You feel as if you have awakened from sleep and feel very alive. It is a great feeling of freedom, and you will want it to stay, but the moment you start thinking about it or trying to force it to continue, you are out of it. This is because when you start thinking you shift your awareness back to your thoughts, ego and external world, and snap yourself out of this inner experience. Thoughts are like clouds that hide this inner state, existing beyond the mind.
It is not so simple to explain this emptiness - inner silence in words. The mind does not participate in this experience, actually, it is a condition that it slows down or stops its activity, so how can the mind explain something it cannot experience? Words can only point the direction, give an approximate understanding and use comparisons. The best way to know and realize what Emptiness - Silence - Nonduality means is to experience it.
At first, when thoughts calm down for just a split second, the experience of inner emptiness - inner silence - bliss is short, irregular and rare, but as your ability to silence your mind grows, the depth, duration and frequency grows. Well-advanced people can even live in this sense of inner peace, inner silence and blissful emptiness, even while living their day-to-day life. This inner experience turns into a habit, and becomes their usual everyday consciousness, without interfering with their day-to-day life, work, activities and relationships with other people.
Learn to calm down the restless activity of your mind through concentration exercises and by practicing meditation, and little by little, as your ability to silence your mind grows, you will discover and experience the bliss, happiness, inner peace and nonduality that comes through inner silence - emptiness.