Our conditioned, patterned way of living may be disrupted by the unexpected. An accident, a sudden reversal of fortune, the death of a loved one, or a confrontation with our own mortality can open a window to another world of significance. Another way in which disruption may appear in our lives is through grace, an encounter with someone who has been overwhelmed by reality and who naturally projects that inner state out into the world, where it is experienced by others.
I experienced one of these disruptions a few years ago at the Mt. Madonna Center in Watsonville, California. It is a retreat facility founded by Baba Hari Dass, an Indian yogi who has not spoken a word since 1952. I was facilitating a planning session for a management team of a computer chip manufacturing company. I had arranged a private meeting with our group and Baba Hari Dass, who communicates succinctly and humorously by writing on a chalkboard. We visited with him for about thirty minutes, asking a variety of questions, including several about spirituality in business. When our time was over, I went to thank him. Something came from his eyes that I had experienced coming from the eyes of my teacher, Swami Muktananda, many years earlier. It was a kind of light that could penetrate very deeply into one's being. One is touched at the core: it is the touch of reality, or grace, and one awakens to another world of significance.
As I walked outside with our group I suddenly felt very strange, light-headed, and off balance. I told my associate to continue on without me, that I would catch up in a minute. I wandered into a grove of trees, found a boulder, and sat down. Something pierced my heart. I bent over and started crying. It's very hard to say what occurred to me then. It is probably difficult for all of us to speak of these moments-so full of silence and beauty and awakening.
When I stopped crying, I sat still for a long time. Everything about me seemed newly alive, radiant, as though I was seeing these common things for the first time: flowers, trees, rocks, dirt. It seemed that everything was breathing! I felt light and spacious, extending beyond the familiar boundary of my body. I became aware of an orderly connection between things, much as when you finally piece a puzzle together you see how each piece fits into the other to form the whole. I was relieved of a burden I didn't know I was carrying. I was embraced by a profound peace.
When these disruptions to our conventional way of living occur, it's as though we see another dimension of life about which we were ignorant. The mask of appearances falls away, and we see something profound about life. We experience something of the timeless, the real, that which gives radiance to us in the womb. It's beyond words, and the mind hardly grasps it. In these moments, the fortifications against the soul dissolve, and a new perspective appears.
When we are quiet and open, we can hear the conversations of animals and birds, even plants, stones, and soil. Everything is alive, everything endures hardships and joys, and everything feels pain to some degree or another. When we are touched by grace, we know that kindness is natural. We do not have the right to needlessly inflict pain on others. Whenever any suffering is an outcome of our actions, we must find another way.
We know it is not right to profit from someone's suffering or misfortune, and we won't be pushed from the beam of this knowledge just because there is a lot of money to be made.
May everyone be at peace, in love, and know their most perfect Self.
Robert Rabbin is an author, speaker, and advisor. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing: 2629 Manhattan Ave., Ste. 192, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available in bookstores or from the publisher at (800) 777-1048.
"Echoes in Silence" is a bi-weekly column by Robert Rabbin--author, speaker, and advisor--who has spend thirty years using self-inquiry as a means to explore the true nature of self, mind, reality, and consciousness.
His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available through the bookstores nationwide.