Don't think the garden loses its
ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but
the roots are down there riotous. - Rumi
I celebrated last winter solstice in darkness and silence and I spent the first day of the new year in symbolic silence and stillness. I invited winter to guide me through and out the inner stirrings of the mind. I chose silence as the highest form of medicine, for the soul. Silence is what the soul needs to remember itself and start weaving its way back home, revealing its own inner luminary in complete darkness, in total shutdown of sensory and mental inputs. It takes death to be reborn.
When mental and emotional pollution climb to dysfunctional levels, as it so often happens in modern city life especially around holiday season, taking down the top shelf medicine is what is truly needed. The choice of silence shows the body and the mind the most basic form of self mastery. It is a form of conscious descent into the self’s Underworld, confronting directly what makes the body want and the mind create inner stirring. The intelligence of the soul can guide you only if you have the ability to trust your inner winter workings. Silence is just the beginning of the journey. The archetype of descending into the Underworld is common to many cultures. Ancient Greeks have Persephone, the wife of Hades, the underworld God, Sumerians have Inanna, the daughter of Moon, who dies for three days and three nights during her descent in the Underworld (the symbol of her ego death), Egyptians have Osiris, the God of the Dead, resurrection and fertility, Christians have the crucifixion and death of Jesus and the Dacians, my ancestors, have god Zamolxis who buried himself in a cave for three years prior to his deification. Consciously confronting one’s shadow self is the landmark of spiritual maturity and opens the door to true inner transformation. The shadow is the wax of the candle that melts for the light of the wix to shine. As Rumi put it: “No matter how fast you run,/ your shadow more than keeps up./ Sometimes, it’s in front!/ Only full, overhead sun/ diminishes your shadow./ But that shadow has been serving you!/ What hurts you, blesses you./ Darkness is your candle./ Your boundaries are your quest.”
But there is more than shadow work to Silence.
When turning the mental conversation off, you can truly start Listening. You get access to the non verbal communication among all things. There is a profound power in Connection. When you shut your ego down, you discover that the world is, well, alive. Interconnected. Things start to flow. You are in the Flux, things come to you, and, as you don’t block them any longer with your mental interference, you extend divine eyes and ears into the unseen and unheard. How did Pythagoras opened his hearing to the music of the stars? Iamblichus says: “He was also adorned by piety and disciplines, by a mode of living transcendently good, by firmness of soul, and by a body in due subjection to the mandates of reason. In all his words and actions, he discovered an inimitable quiet and serenity, not being subdued at any time by anger, or laughter, or emulation, or contention, or any other perturbation or precipitation of conduct”. (Iamblichus - The Life of Pythagoras). Mastering the mind and the body is work of the soul. Learning to work with Silence as activator of a harmonious relationship between the divine feminine (Intuition) and the divine masculine (Reason) is what Pythagoras did.
How did Rumi started to write poems? He first gave up his priesthood, which he understood as a limitation his soul. He kept Silence over his ego, as he says in this line: “Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation”. There is a secret opening in listening and connecting: the Surrender mode. If Silence is a choice, or an invitation, true Surrender is a hope for Revelation. Sitting in darkness, I asked the cosmic intelligence to truly guide me forward. I asked for revelation. Surrender is trust: I let go of control and merge with to the cosmic mind to see things closer to what they truly are, undistorted. As I write now, I surrender to the process of writing and I trust it will bring me closer to truth. There is an intelligence in the process of surrender itself, a sort of self regulation. Plato called this Remembrance. Just like the body intelligence does when we fast. It resets itself. It gives up what is unnecessary and keeps only what is essential to its functioning. The intelligence of the body does whatever it takes to preserve homeostasis.
Medicine is first of all about removing what does not belong in the body, mind and spirit. Medicine about letting go of things that attach to us and do not serve our best interest. Mental pollution with its false constructs is the most dangerous form of invasion, as it is the most subtle, it seems to us part of who we are. And it is. Until we let it go. Usually we don’t let go until we reach a dark night of the soul. When Rumi gave up the idea of being a priest, he became a mystic, someone who chooses to have direct connection to God rather then learn about God from textbooks. And this is what his spiritual master, Shams al Tabriz, did when he was young: “One day I gave up all my clothes, all my ways and I stood still. I heard the voice calling me, I left Tabriz in order to find a guide, I left the town but I could not find one. The universe is not empty, so there must be a guide somewhere…”. The story does not tell if he found one, all we know is that Shams became the guide of one of the greatest mystic poets of the world: Rumi. When Shams died, Rumi, immersed in grief and silence, received the revelation of his mystic dance - whirling - helping generations after generations of Sufi to merge with the Divine. Surrender: this is how the most beautiful poems of the world were manifested.
And then, the most important. Yes. There is a secret opening even in Surrender. The pure joy of being. The joy that comes from Freedom. This is what the soul naturally longs for. Experiencing Freedom is as close as we can get to the Divine.
So work with Silence as activator of the Soul. Act fearlessly, be Silent! Trust there will be Rebirth, no matter what brought you to Silence and how hard you have been wounded, trust that there will be regeneration. Remember Silence is a just training wheels for the time after the body dies to this world. The Soul’s journey will continue beyond your current limitations. So start removing those limits now. Expand, be who you are in Truth. Show beauty to you and you alone. Know that you are not alone, but rather all one. This is a journey of joy. Be ready for rebirth, spring is here and - “it looks like the end/ it seems like a sunset/ but in reality it is a dawn/ when the grave locks you up/ that is when your soul is freed” - Rumi.
Keywords: Silence, Stillness, Soul, Underworld, Guide, Connection, Surrender, Medicine, Joy, Freedom