As I meditate for longer and longer periods of time (1–2 hours) at daybreak each morning, I am finding complexity and simplicity are merging into one flowing experience. Seems contradictory, I know, but only because of the constraints of language. Put another way, layer upon layer of awareness is opening up within me, yet all the layers are part of one whole, one seamless state of being. I’m discovering it is possible to feel inner peace at the same time that I’m feeling sadness or distraction. I am aware of silence at the heart of all sound, of light at the center of darkness. Beyond the illusion of separation, there is wholeness. Within complexity itself is infinite simplicity. Perhaps the best way to describe all of this is oneness, feeling one with everything, at times just resting without thought in simply being, in simply breathing.
Various spiritual traditions speak of such moments. Zen Buddhist teacher Ji Hyang Padma describes something similar in her book Living the Season: “At the moment that we completely give ourselves to the experience of practice, we are the breath. Our inside and outside become one, mind and body become one, we and the universe completely become one.” The Sanskrit word samadhi refers to union or merging with God or the Divine, and the Hebrew word devekut describes intense melding or deep communion with God in prayer or meditation. Humans have tried with words to approximate an experience of Divine union or universal oneness that really defies description. Yet we try.
Because I am a writer, I have always felt a deep compelling urge to describe my own spiritual journeys. Yet, the deeper I dive, the harder it is to find the exact words to replicate what I am feeling. Indeed, during one of my deepest inner experiences of infinity (in a session with Panache Desai), I completely lost the desire to write or describe at all. For several hours, I remained in a state of infinite peace. My journal lay untouched nearby. Lately, as I spend longer periods of time in meditation, this same experience is recurring. Words are unnecessary within pure being, the soul silently witnessing. Language arises from thought, and when thoughts float by without attachment or disappear, there is no need to speak or write. Only, later, as I come to the surface from these depths, do I reach for my pen.
This is not to say that the goal of life is to give up speaking or writing. I guess that what I am getting at here is that the experience of peaceful oneness without words changes you. I perceive the world a little differently. The need for constant intervention and effort diminishes. Events seem to flow of their own accord without my monitoring them. There is a recognition of a higher intelligence at work, an intricate tapestry of which I am but one fiber. And my purpose, as that fiber, is to simply be myself, not orchestrate the entire universe. There is a humility in this, a letting go. It doesn’t mean lack of doing; it means doing that arises from being—a softer, less frenetic approach to life. When I write, the words flow from my soul more than my mind.
Am I in this space all the time? No, of course not. I am human. My mind gets busy, and I start to make lists, feel rushed, etc. But those experiences are becoming more transitory, less all-consuming. My soul self knows better, and that connection grows ever stronger. All of us have that connection, and we are gradually learning its importance. There truly is an inner core of peace. When we open to that peace, one breath at a time, it simplifies everything.