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Chapter 7: The Center of the Cyclone

Nischalatwam pradakshinam.
Stillness is pradakshina - the movement around That for worship.

Silence is meditation, and silence is basic for any religious experience. What is silence? You can create it, you can cultivate it, you can force it, but then it is just superficial, false, pseudo. You can practice it, and you will begin to feel and experience it, but your practice makes it auto-hypnotic. It is not real silence. Real silence comes only when your mind dissolves, not through any effort but through understanding, not through any practice but through an inner awareness.

We are filled with sounds, outside and inside. In the outside world it is impossible to create a situation which is silent. Even when we move to a forest, deep in a forest, it is not silence - only new sounds, natural sounds. In the middle of the night everything has stopped, but it is not silence, only new sounds you are not acquainted with - more harmonious, of course, more musical, but still sounds, no silence.

A modern musician and composer, John Cage, has said many times that silence is impossible. You can have musical sounds, you can have nonmusical sounds; you can have sounds you like and sounds you don’t like. When you don’t like sounds, they become noise; when you like noise, it becomes music. But you cannot have silence - Cage says you cannot have silence.

He reports one incident. He thought previously, before this incident, that silence is a possibility, but he had not meditated over it. Once he entered a hall in Harvard University built particularly for some scientific engineering purposes. The hall was absolutely soundproof and anti-echo, absolutely. He entered the hall. He has an ear for sound, he is a great musician, one of the greatest of this century. In that hall he began to hear two sounds: one a high sound, the other a low sound.

He asked the engineer-in-charge, “You say this hall is absolutely soundproof, you say it is anti-echo, but I hear two sounds: one high and one low.”

The engineer said, “The high sound is your nervous system working and the low sound is your blood in circulation.”

Cage says, “That day I became absolutely certain that, unless I die, silence is impossible.”

Silence is impossible in the outside world. And your nervous system is part of the outside world, not of the inside. And your blood circulation is part of the outside world, not of the inside. The real inside is absolutely silent. If you allow me I will say: the absolute point of silence is the inside.

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