Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Nothing Wrong with Silence
Jeff Foster

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Jeff Foster

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The essay below is an extract from Jeff's book 'Life Without a Centre: awakening from the dream of separation'.

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Link to Jeff's website.

This is the unnamable Mystery. And yet we give it a name.

And having named the unnamable Mystery a thou­sand times over, we take those names to be the reality. And we live according to that reality, forgetting that the names were arbitrary, and a product of the mind.

And the names torture us; we are caught in the mid­dle of the polarities, torn between the opposites: good and evil, love and hate, right and wrong, rich and poor, ugly and beautiful, sacred and profane. This prison is of our own making, and yet we do not realize we do it to ourselves.

The mind (that is, "you") is not interested in the Mystery, because the mystery cannot be an object of knowledge. Indeed, it is That from which objects of knowledge arise, the Void which gives birth to all life. Without it there is nothing. Call it the Tao, call it God, call it Spirit, call it Consciousness, call it Life, call it nothing at all or even deny it; even the denial of it is simply It denying itself. No proof is needed for It. Why? Because this moment is. You are here. It is now. That, and just that, is God. There is no need for belief.

A belief in God is a denial of God. You don't need to believe in something if that something is staring you in the face!

And when this is realized, how quiet everything becomes! All mental noise dies away, and is seen for what it is: a false reality, an illusion, nothing more. You are no longer a person: not a man, not a woman, not English, not American, not black, not white, not Hindu, not Christian, not Muslim, not atheist, not rich or poor, good or bad, not happy or sad; you are not any of these things; you are not this, not that, not any object of consciousness. You are not the body, not the mind. Those feet are not yours, those hands, those legs. That face doesn't belong to you. That head is there, but you do not own it. No eyes, no tongue, no nose, no throat, no heart. No form. Before you are all of these things, you are. You are consciousness. You are awareness. Pure, unconditioned awareness. Not the idea but the actuality, the simple feeling of being. Presence.

You are Life itself, not an individual cut off from the whole, but you are one with all things, because all things are manifestations of the one Life, and you are that Life. The illusion of individuality arises, yes - but it is a manifestation, and you are not doing it. It is not personal. And the manifestation need not be denied - no, it is there. No self-denial is necessary.

The self arises. Let it be. It is an illusion, after all, a con­struction of thought. You are prior to that construction, you are the awareness in which the construction arises. You are the awareness in which the "you" arises. This is not clever wordplay but the actuality of things - look for yourself right now. Meditate on it. Come back to present experience (this is true meditation). Is there anything solid there called "self"? Is there any clear distinction between you and not you? Where is the boundary? Are "you" contained within the skin surrounding the body? Is that what you experience yourself as?

Come back to the present experience! Without refer­ence to the past, can you know who you are? Can you say who you are, really?


Ah, this is tiring. Attempting to name the unnamable, to describe that which is prior to all description. Per­haps I should just let it be.

There is nothing more to say. Silence is the only honest way to go. Once you reach this point all words are just noise. Noise to fill the silence which is prior to, and envelops, all noise. Why do we pay so much attention to the noise? What is wrong with silence?



We reach the point of creation.

Why is there anything at all?

Why isn't there Nothing?

What is wrong with silence?


The noise comes, though. But now we see it in a new way. It is pointless. In the sense that it is equal to silence. Not better, not worse. But it is undeniably there. So we honor it; we do not deny it.

And so now life becomes a play, a game, a divine dance, because it's all meaningless and pointless and purpose­less, and it exists for no reason whatsoever other than to be itself. Noise and silence, noise and silence, insepara­ble. Being and non-being, inseparable. Me and not-me, inseparable. Everything in divine union, not fragments anymore but aspects of a whole, each part important, each piece enabling everything else to be; nothing out of place, nothing unwanted, nothing disposable. Noth­ing sacred, nothing profane. Being and non-being as two aspects of consciousness, as the two faces of God. And really, God has no faces at all.

Ah, but the words are just ripples on the surface. Plunge back into the silence. No words needed. No words necessary.

No real urge to speak of it anymore. Just the simple feeling of being is enough, the simplicity of this, just this. This moment.


Only this. Only ever this.

Why did it take so long to see it? Why was I sleepwalk­ing my whole life?

It doesn't matter now. Let the past slide away. It is as unreal as the imagined future.

The sound of breathing. The hum of the computer. The creaking of the radiator. A tingling in the toes. Hands moving over keys. Words coming out. Breathing. A sense of deep peace. This is life, damn it! Here! Right here!

Words cannot even scratch the surface of things. And yet we spend our lives scratching on the surface. Think­ing we have the answers. Not realizing that there are no answers, because there are no questions. There were never any questions, because this moment is always already perfect the way it is. Any question would take you away from that.

Oh, let it be. Let it all be.


Stay rooted in the silence, and honor the noise...

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012