by Tracy Bleier
Baba Hari Dass hasn’t uttered a word for 64 years. The monk wears a small chalkboard around his neck to communicate to the world. When asked why he practiced such austerity, he said his silence prevented him from saying anything negative and calmed his mind.
It’s amazing how when we slip into silence, what we are seeking is just right there. The peace of mind that we strain to find in our yoga practice or on our cushion exists in molecules floating around us all day long. And yet, we walk through these particles all day without allowing ourselves to be penetrated by them.
Silence, I realize more and more, has to be entered into. It doesn’t just sprinkle its fairy dust upon us as we go blindly through our day carrying groceries and honking at people who cut us off. It doesn’t rain its powers down upon us while we sit staring at screens. It doesn’t only live within the walls of a studio, a meditation hall or a chapel.
Silence is with us in every waking breath, in the transitions we make from getting out of bed and moving out the door—but it goes on ignored until we choose it.
After my first yoga class years ago, I experienced right away this special kind of quiet. “I feel amazing,” I said to my friend who encouraged me to practice. It was not a feeling I recognized having before, and it took me by surprise and left me in wonder. My friend smiled, “Well,” he said
“That’s the way you should always feel.” I asked myself, Why do I not allow myself to have that sense of peace all the time? What’s stopping me?
What I learned was that “amazing” was not something I needed to chase after in a yoga pose or chase, period. That feeling—call it inner peace, lightness, calm—was not based on things needing to be this way or that. That feeling was available at all times. Often what can obstruct that sort of amazing on a daily basis may possibly be worthiness. We put so many things before being quiet. I just don’t have the time. I need to do this or that first.
But you deserve amazing on a daily basis. Even for just a moment, in the middle of your day, take a few steps away and look out the window, or close your eyes or go outside or look at people’s faces and their children’s faces. Look up! Birds! Clouds! Light! It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. Silence waits patiently for us to notice her.
Though sometimes it’s necessary to get out of our everyday routine to find peace, we don’t need to cease the pace of our lives completely to find the presence and calmness of mind that Baba Hari Dass has found in silence. The universe holds out her hand and offers us her gifts. All we have to do is receive them.
For an opportunity to meet, practice and learn from Tracy Bleier, check out her workshop on Journal and Flow October 2 at ZenYogaGarage
Tracy Bleier is a teacher and community leader/ builder. She recently moved to Chicago where, in addition to teaching yoga and writing and caring for her family, she is writing her first memoir.