Stillness Within

By Keira Madsen 2015

Stillness Within: A Communal Intelligence

In moments of deep stillness, it would seem that Silence surfaces from the deepest recesses of our being. By some mysterious hand of unspeakable ease, Silence offers a Knowing Intelligence that gently lifts us far beyond habits of an individuated “self.” Within a field beyond time and space, there is an inclusiveness that shatters self-imposed limitations. In these moments, I have experienced “a new world” that is both fierce and gentle: fierce in its uncompromising clarity, and gentle in its compelling generosity.

As wonderful as this sounds — and is — I also experience times of painful resistance to the direction of this authentic practice. During these times, I am torn between the desire to stake a personal claim within this field of generosity; and a deeper Knowing that everything turns to dust within its landscape.

The extraordinary edge to this Communal Intelligence is that everything belongs. Everything. Even my desire to personally manipulate it belongs. The paradoxical realization that even my egocentricity is a non-issue, brings with it a palpable heart-response that spills over into my entire body. I experience a fluid freedom that causes my body and psyche to relax. This generous field of “All is Well,” even within the struggle, must be what the mono-theistic traditions refer to as Faith, or Buddhism’s trust in the Dharma. The thrill of these mystical moments is augmented when shared in communion with others. There is no “teacher,” but rather a willingness to lean beyond our separative habits, into the communal nature of the Stillness  within.

This prose, written in December 2012, expresses some of the inclusive abundance of this Communal Intelligence, as well as my resistance to it — trying to hold on, to make the experience “something about me.” Like many of us, making life “something about me” has been encouraged and rewarded. And yet, mystical awakenings of deep connection far surpass any fulfillment I might experience within the separative paradigms we fiercely hold as reality. Deep Stillness awakens a Communal Intelligence that is uncompromisingly paradoxical: in both its glory, and in the ruthless mirror it holds before me. It shows me the nothingness of my Allness.

When I listen … deeply …

I am not alone.

Something echoes through my being,

like a distant memory …

It speaks of endless time,

 endless tenderness, endless generosity.

As I sit alert, ever more still in response to this energy,

wave after wave of Reality washes through my heart,

which is becoming The Heart,

and I lose track of the identity that entered the experience.

No wonder I have been avoiding Silence Practice lately.

It is no longer about me.

It can no longer be about me …

It is now about Love,

And Love’s story is not about me.

I don’t like the lost feeling when life is not about me,

so I make ugly scenarios in my mind.

I make things up about how much better or worse I am than others,

or what they must be thinking about me.

I really don’t believe any of it, but it keeps me busy enough

to distract me from being nothing

in this dynamic field of Love.

Love …

uncompromising, and yet wildly compelling;

disorienting, and yet gloriously up-lifting.

One can never find the separate-self identity here.

It is burned beyond recognition.

The fire of Love is strong,


Liberating beyond comprehension,

and utterly unshakable.

Nothing exists but Her …




Scriptural References

“When a man knows the solitude of silence, and feels the joy of quietness, he is then free from fear and he feels the joy of the dharma” (Buddha)

“Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

4 thoughts on “Stillness Within

  1. I have touched the edges of the Silence. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have no idea how to be in relationship to it. I no longer experience the drunken ecstasy of Rumi or Hafiz…only empty nothing. And even still, I am mean and unkind at times, knowing better. Having come to this place of silence with absolutely no way of relating other than sitting there, is all I can do now. Hopefully that’s enough.

    1. Thank you Jennifer. Yes. “Sitting there” is perfect and absolutely enough. We do not have any control of our relationship to Silence. It is all through Grace. And yet, we do our part in just “sitting there,” allowing ourselves to be influenced and held by the mystery.

  2. Beautiful Laura. Not only do find we “peace and the joy of the dharma”, as the Buddha tells us in your quote, but as we increasingly experience the inability of our rational minds, and modernist consciousness to address the challenges in our world today , we are discovering the power in Silence… not just as a means of realizing personal peace, but it is as though we have access to wisdom, knowing, even skills and abilities to respond from that Silence, that we could not have imagined, or attained by just knowing more. It is difficult for us to believe, well, difficult for our sophisticated modernist highly rationally intelligent selves to believe. But more and more, many more are experiencing the truth of this. Silence is akin to a ” pregnant void” that births the perfect response in the present. And just being “in” it.. however we do that, mediation, leaning in to the radical immediacy of “no mind”… loosening up enough to slip into the worm hole of this dimension of consciousness, we know. I suppose one way of looking at it is that we have to learn to by pass the rational mind, through practising Silence. And what to do, how we engage with life and what presents itself to us, that is, how to respond- emerges from that deep knowing. We “Know by being,” and not” Know about”, as Dr Jeff Eisen says. Strange but silence rightly understood and entered into, can almost be seen as the way to empower humans at this particular point to the evolutionary challenge at hand, if only … and it’s a big if only, we can let go of what we think we already know. Even what we think we already know about Silence. Always so good to hear from you, Laura, and connect again. Sending much love, Marion

    1. Thank you dear Marion — what beautiful wisdom you have shared here. I love “Silence is akin to a ‘pregnant void’ that births the perfect response in the present.” When I was about 18 years old, for about a year, I had this feeling that I was pregnant with something unknowable and yet it felt so close & intimate. Because my mind could never connect with these sensations, I did not validate them, or know what to do with them! It has taken me this long to simply surrender to the immensity of the mystery inside of each us. Namaste dear friend.

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