Silence and Stillness

Finding Inner Silence: A Path to Clarity Through Meditation

I was first asked to be silent for a few days during a meditation retreat in 2006. At first, I almost had a panic attack. I was not used to silence! If I couldn’t communicate with others verbally, would I lose my connection to the world and somehow expire? 

At that time, I had no steady connection to my inner Self, so I depended on the outside world to feel as if I existed. Of course, this inner monologue was in the unconscious, and I had no idea why I felt the way I felt. 

Turning Inward: Shifting from External to Internal Focus

The first day or so was incredibly hard for me. I was very uncomfortable, especially during meal times when the thirty of us would sit and eat in silence. I wasn’t sure if I should keep eye contact and try to communicate with gestures or try to avoid locking eyes with anyone at all. I spent a significant amount of time just worrying about how to be silent. 

After about 24 hours, I had a moment where it was as if I took the outside world’s attention and turned it 180 degrees back onto myself. Imagine your car’s headlights and turning them back towards the inside of the car and, in essence, shining the light on my self. Turning the focus and attention away from the outside and instead to the inside. At that moment, I realized that I no longer had to worry about how to relate to people or what to say next, and instead, I could simply relax. And oh boy, did I relax! It was the first moment of deep inner silence I’d ever had. One that I once thought would never be a possibility. 

The joy of inner silence

David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D

The Transformative Power of Silence: Lessons Learned

The time spent worrying or thinking about how to communicate takes up A LOT of time. Meanwhile, the time spent in silence is so nurturing for your soul and heart. I learned that silence also helps me be less attached to my thoughts and relax and find inner peace. 

Our lives are so busy that for me, it is crucial to find this silence daily if I can. Otherwise, I feel frazzled, tired, and moody. 

Meditation is a beautiful starting point; if you can find a few minutes of meditating every day, after a bit, you will start to crave the stillness and the silence. You will start seeing things differently, you will start reacting to things differently, and then with time, the dramas in your life won’t affect you like they used to. Meditation has also opened up the connection and love I feel for other people, animals, and nature. When you calm the thought stream, you see the truth underneath, the layer of the mind and your soul, the one you have always been looking for—connection to my soul, connection to myself, connection to the world around me.  

Meditation, for me, is blank space. There is nothing, just empty space. 

What you are seeking is already within

Years ago, the idea of empty or blank space used to scare me, but since then, I have come to understand that it is not empty per se; it is the stillness that lies beyond it all, the ground of being. When the thoughts come into my meditation, I shift back to an empty space. It might sound very boring, but it’s the place I seek and long for to get back to every day. When I connect to this space, it brings about a feeling of a warm, nurturing blanket that I carry throughout the day. And this stillness keeps me present so that I can actually hear what my child is saying to me or so that I can access the same presence as my dog or my horses. 

If my mind is too busy, I feel out of sync with those around me and the daily events in my life. A great example is that I am bound to have a bad ride on my horse. Feeling out of sync is the tell-tale sign of what is going on in your mind. 

Just like children, animals mirror your inner state. If your mind is going at 180, your horse will feel tense because you are tense. With children, it is the same; the more distracted you are, the more frantic they will be to try to get your attention. Of course, neither the children nor the horses know what is happening. But, as we are all part of one energy, we feel others’ tension just the same as we feel others’ calm. 

The blank space helps me stay present, and access that part of me that is infinite love. This is a state of being that is our natural state, but has been forgotten. When we find it again, we sense a feeling of home. Don’t take what is for granted without an investigation into the inner Self. As all the Sages say, what you are seeking is already within. For me, my wish in this life is to be here right now, right now. It is the only place to be. The only place that matters. 

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Abdi Assadi is unlike any other healer or spiritual teacher ever encountered. He is an expert in martial arts, and a dynamic healer practicing a diverse array of Chinese and Eastern Medicine, indigenous shamanic rituals, and meditation techniques. With a clinical practice in New York City for almost 4 decades, Abdi has accumulated a vast knowledge of real life experience working with several thousands of individuals, guiding them through the most difficult times, and teaching them how to understand themselves. One of the greatest things about him is he merges the human psyche with the spiritual psyche.

Steeped in deep wisdom and insight that is rare to find on this planet in these modern times, Abdi has an extraordinary ability in perceiving and comprehending human souls and their individual psyche. Guided by the divine, Abdi guides you to open up and see beyond your limited Self, into your own soul. His impeccable discernment enables him to unleash personal remarks that pierce through your veil, statements that you will never forget and in an instant alter your perception of yourself and your reality.

– Quotes from Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi:

All spiritual masters teach us that love is an activity before it is a condition – and that love is all-encompassing.
Page 18

It felt like I was coming off a race track and driving in a school zone. He knew, years before I did, that my speed was my way of suppressing my early childhood anxiety, and that only slowing down could heal it.

Why do you need to use all these words like God and spirituality? It is right here Abdi, all around you, all the time
Page 40

one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Page 51

Ultimately it keeps grace out of our lives because we are using our will power to manipulate every event and person around us.
Page 74

His lesson, which I had begun to learn for myself, is that outside circumstances do not define our internal experience if we can surrender into them. Painful or undesirable situations will always arise; true suffering comes from our ego’s desire to resist life as it is.
Page 77

Note from Pernilla:
I met Abdi in the fall of 2014 and when I arrived in his office the first thing he said was, “It’s time that you stop carrying other people’s anxiety.” In the year that followed, my entrenched codependency patterns reared their ugly heads and I was confronted with a part of myself that I had never even known was there.

A few years later, Abdi said, “When are you going to start writing your book?”I looked at him in surprise. I was not a writer. My expertise was centered around creating crazy good Excel spreadsheets. However, I started writing and collecting notes about life issues and life experiences … and here we are a few years later.

Sally Kempton is a preeminent meditation teacher of our time.

She is an expert scholar in Hinduism and all Hindu texts especially in Kashmir Shaivisim. Formerly Swami Durgananda, she left monastic life in the 1980’s to teach publicly. She has written several books and is one of the most known and loved spiritual teachers in our time.

Note from Pernilla:

I met Sally at one of her workshops at City Yoga in LA in 2003. She had the most gentle and loving disposition, and I just wanted to always be around her. I was fortunate to have been part of her two year-long “Transformative journey” courses in 2006 and 2007 and many retreats ever since. She is the true representation of unconditional love and transmits intense shakti from her Guru Swami Muktananda.

Sally is the primary building block and foundation in my spiritual journey. Without her, I would have never found and stuck with meditation – the most transformative experience of my life. Without her, I would have been lost without a clue where to go next. Her wealth of knowledge of yogic philosophy and incredible understanding of the human condition is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.  She understands your depth and makes you feel seen, heard, validated, and deeply loved.