The Art of Being: January 2022

The Art of Being
By Deborah Chandler, Ph.D.

January 2022


Even when I sit for mediation, my mind spins out images, thoughts, and arcane bits of my history. There is no silence. But a discovered a secret. I can escape from the domain of my noisy mind into what I call my inner realm.

What is this inner realm? I can describe my experience. In the inner realm I have no desires. I am not doing. I am not posing. I am not achieving. I am just there, suspended in stillness. Sometimes I see movement–maybe light. Sometimes no light but yet no darkness.

My inner realm has many names. Many poets, artists, seers have described their encounters with this enchanting space. TS Eliot in The Four Quartets wrote of it:
At the still point of the turning world…at the still point, there the dance is…
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

This dance is the timeless expression of being, without name or substance. From the still point the dance emerges. This is an actualization of being in its purest form, a mere pulsation. As this pulsation spreads, we create worlds for ourselves.

At times, silence can be scary. In the silence we can feel lost, disconnected from the familiar noises and scenes our brains generate. Our brains process the input from our sense organs. Usually, this is our most familiar awareness of who we are. We listen to our brains and deduce our identities. So, when we step into the inner realm and leave the productivity of our brains, who are we?

In the silence of the inner realm we leave behind our familiar labels: name, job, families. Without these we open into a space that cocoons us in light, peace, and love. When first encountering this possibility, we marvel at the effortlessness of being suspended in silent joy. I find it strange that while I go about my daily tasks of living, I am also that without name or substance, just a throb of being.

For me, many years elapsed between when I began exploring meditation and when I encountered my inner realm. At first, I meditated with two mantras, one on the in-breath and one on the out breath. My mind was so busy and noisy, I could barely hear the mantras over the clatter. Slowly I had moments of silence. But I wasn’t ready to let this stillness be my guide. I was still enamored of my mind. I rejected the unscientific assertion of an inner realm.

However, once revealed, the truth of the inner realm transcends doubts. The inner realm becomes the sanctuary of silence.