Silence is a beautiful adventure. We start out craving silence when the noise of our minds, the direction of our personal story, becomes unbearable. Replacing the noise with a practice of silence is not the true adventure; rather, we must go spelunking. We must dive into the depths and explore.
I went for a silent hike the other day with a lovely group of people. We all walked quietly, trying to get lost in nature, in the sunlight checking on us through the trees, in the creek politely making its way around mossy boulders. But as I walked, as I floated on the surface of silence, I made a conscious choice to go deeper.
On the way down I saw the stillness in trees and mountains. This stillness was in my face, simple to feel, loudly inviting me deeper. Further down was the noisiness of the creek, and when I let go of the babbling in my ears, it held just as much silence as a towering cliff or golden-canopied tree. As I sank deeper into the quiet embrace I encountered circling and cawing crows, passersby greeting, and visuals of turns in the trail. They all were infused with the same golden drop of silence.
But eventually I reached the bottom, the limit of silence, the barrier to the deeper realms. There, there was the image of me, of what I thought I was.
I was a hiker with a backpack on a trail. I was a body, separate from everything around me.
And when I let that go of that image for an instant, there was no more bottom. I could go as deep as I wanted or could let go of believing in depths. There was only silence. I was silence.