If John Cage, as he reports, heard his own sounds – the nervous system working, the blood circulating – then two things are there. The awareness, the knowledge, the knowing, the consciousness, and a point is there inside which becomes aware that two sounds are there. But Cage is aware only of two sounds. He is not aware of the center which is aware of these two sounds.
If he becomes aware of this center of alertness, then those two sounds are just far away. There is a gap. And the moment your focus of consciousness is transferred from objective sounds to the soundless center of awareness, you are in silence. So I would like to say: you are silence, and everything else except you is sound. If you are identified with anything, then you will never attain this soundlessness.
This sutra says:
Silence, stillness is pradakshina – the movement around That for worship.
You go to a temple and then you move around the altar of the deity seven times. This is a ritual of worship, but every ritual is symbolic. Why seven rounds? Man has seven bodies, and with each body there are identifications. So when someone moves in, he has to leave seven bodies and the identifications with each body. There are seven rounds; when these seven rounds are complete, you are in the center.
The altar in the temple is not something outside you. You are the temple and the altar is your inner center. If your mind moves around your center, comes nearer and nearer and nearer and, ultimately, is established in the center, this is pradakshina. And when you happen to be at your center, everything is silent.
This silence is achieved through understanding: understanding your anger, your passion, your greed, your sex, everything – understanding your mind. But we are identified with our minds. We think we are our minds. That is the only problem: how to be detached from our own minds, how to be divorced, so to speak, from our own minds. I am reminded:
Mulla Nasruddin applied for a divorce. The whole village gathered in the court. Everyone was just surprised, because Mulla Nasruddin was eighty-seven and his wife seventy-eight. The judge was also surprised. He said, “Nasruddin, what is your age?”
Nasruddin said, “My age is just eighty-seven.” Just eighty-seven!
“And what is the age of your wife?”
He said, “Just seventy-eight.”
“And how long have you been married and how long have you lived together, Nasruddin?”
Nasruddin said, “My lord, not more than sixty-five years – only sixty-five years!”