a stillness which is carried in the midst of the ordinary movement of life.
It’s an inner stillness, not an outer one, and that stillness can be present even when I am involved in many other outward things. It is a secret place that receives the Lord. I want to remind you that we have both inward and outward places inside us; one part of ourselves is turned outwardly towards the world and the other part is turned inwardly.
Understand this, and one can understand a very great deal.
That inward stillness extends not just to intellect, but also to the sensation and feeling. That’s because at the fifth stopinder, the note sol, which is the place of the arising of awareness, a stillness need be present.
The requirement applies to all three minds. This was explained in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson; but what is not explained, in general, is that this stillness naturally arises from and resides within the higher parts of all three centers. It is an innate or inherent part of them.
The entry point to begin a flow from those parts, to arouse their contact with the ordinary world, is always one of stillness. We find ourselves, so to speak, in suspension. Our awareness converges here—but not delicately. Its feet are firmly planted in the act of receiving these forces from the upper parts of the mind.
In this moment, once their action becomes voluntary, there is a stillness of intellect; a stillness of sensation; a stillness of feeling.
From within this stillness, nothing need be done. Everything that is necessary is already there; at each of the parts has positioned itself so that it can receive life actively, without any interference from the lower parts of our mind, which are forever occupied with the activity of manipulating everything they encounter. Both parts need to be present.
When one experiences the stillness of sensation, the stillness of intellect and feeling, one of the first impressions that one has is how undisciplined the lower parts are. The Buddhists have a word for this; they call it monkey mind.
Yet what they don't point out is that there are three different monkey minds, each one of which is involved in its own mischief and nonsense. All three of the monkey minds need to be counterbalanced by this inner stillness if there is to be any peace in the monkey cage, any discipline, any dignity. And this, above all, is what’s lacking: dignity. A monkey has no dignity. It shows its bum to onlookers and flings feces at those it dislikes. Does this sound familiar? It's how we are. We have the potential to be much more than this, but first an inner stillness must settle on us, must find us in the place where we are.
Of course one practices for many years in meditation to encourage this; but in meditation, the state is always fragile and created under a special set of artificial conditions. It's only when the action of the higher minds become voluntary organic that this stillness is manifest in ordinary life alongside– not to the exclusion of – my ordinary mind and being. It’s an additive process.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.