Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Working with the Spirits Pt. 4: Silence

Silence is at the heart of mysticism: it is arguably the most important tool in the spirit worker's kit. If we want to commune with our ancestors and the other denizens of the worlds seen and unseen, we must first learn to be still.  Our lessons to date have required you to seek out items and to take positive actions. This one asks only that you do and say nothing, that you put your Self away to stand quiet and empty in the presence of those who came before you and Those who came before them.

Although it sounds simple, you may find this step very challenging.  The hum of tires against asphalt, the ceaseless aspiration of our computer fans and the rumbling buzz of our air conditioners, the high-pitched electronic mosquito hum  -- our modern world is a very noisy place indeed. Because of this, we have grown accustomed to overstimulation.  When we are forced to spend time in silence, we find it uncomfortable.  Boredom soon sets in: we think of more entertaining ways to spend our time and what should be restorative becomes instead an ordeal.

The best approach to this problem is the same one you take when you're trying to get into shape: gradually working up to longer periods of silence.  In time you will find yourself able to keep still well enough and long enough to strengthen your ancestral connection. You may even develop a taste for peace and quiet, and find yourself called to an increasingly contemplative lifestyle: many a reluctant beginning jogger has gone on to finish multiple marathons.  For now, try to spend five minutes sitting quietly and thinking of nothing at all. If you fail at that, find a period within which you are able to enforce an internal  radio silence.  Try to repeat that period, increasing a little bit each time: keep a chart of your efforts, just as you would for any exercise regimen.

Thoughts will arise while you are trying to maintain this quietude.  Let them rise, then let them disintegrate back into the silence.  The distractions and temptations which trouble you are only as important as you allow them to be.  Once you learn to separate your thinking Self from the chattering of the monkey-mind, you will find yourself better able to concentrate in mundane life and better able to find your calm still center in a crisis. Background noise and personal distractions will drift through you like smoke swirling through air.

It is within this clear state that you will have the most profound interactions with your ancestors.  When you go into the place of silence and reverence, this place where all magic begins, you will find them waiting there. They will bring you the knowledge they bore in their bones and carry it through marrow and sinew. They will whisper to you in the soft slithering beat of the blood that you share.