In the Mirror of Silence

In the Mirror of Silence



This book is an invitation to walk together with me on a path of listening and

to look into the mirror of silence, where we will find ourselves.

It is a personal book, recounting an inner search, an exploration into the

depth of our humanness as it manifests in all its conditional forms and into

the immeasurable beauty of our being. It is an attempt to come close to the

fire of aliveness itself, the fire which enables us to breathe, perceive, think and

be creative, and to find the light-source within us through which we appear

and act in the world as unique beings.



Silence is a time for the essential. It is a time in which we let ourselves be

touched and absorbed by the essence of life. To be taken in by silence is

thoroughly wholesome. It feels like coming home. Only then do we become

aware of our long absence, of our wandering in remote and foreign lands.

Only then do we realize that we have been living inside the walls of our own

prison, a prison consisting of our roles and stories, our convictions and

indoctrinations – entangled in the world of our ego. We have forgotten how it

feels to simply be – without excessive duties, without a function, without having

to do anything specific, without having to be anyone special, without wanting

anything else – only to be here with what is.



Being in silence, we can clearly observe two different “reality-worlds” in

which we mainly exist – two reality spheres that appear to have little to do

with one another. One is the world of the ‘me’ with its social and cultural

networks of relationships and conditionings. The other is the world of the

immediate Now, the living presence of being. I exist simultaneously in two

completely different ways: as a biographical, ego-centred identity, and as a

present embodiment of the breath of life. The first world consists mainly of

thinking and thought-generated emotions and actions. The second consists

of the present essence. The first world is made up of what we know and has a

past. The second is always new and, ultimately, unknowable.



The path of silence leads us from wanting to listening; the passage into being.

Whenever we desire something, our wanting has a direction and we become

fixated on an idea – on something that is not actual. It is a movement from

here to there. Listening, on the other hand, is quite different. It calls the attention

into what is now and is, therefore, a movement from everywhere to here.

The ‘I’ usually wants; therefore it has to become quiet for listening to occur.

Only then can the ‘I’ enter into the vibration from which it is born.



Like captive balloons, we sail through the world, floating past each other,

greeting one another with waving hands. In the balloon’s basket we carry all

that we own and all that we are. Should we allow everything to fall away, we

would rise up into the immeasurable.



For hours I sit by the water, gazing into its reflections. It arouses such

fascination in me; as if only in the reflected does everything become clear.

In the depth of the water, the skies become even wider and shades of light blue

mingle with dark green. From the surface of this mirror, the trees shoot up

trembling, and the three-dimensional opens into an additional realm; it is

as if all reflections are just a dream and, in between, shines the real.



Liquid sun

in flowing waters.

Transparent ground

of vibrant space.

No-man's land now,

untouched by all.

No grain of dust

from what has passed.

Neither you nor me,

neither eye nor ear

were ever here.

This fragrance stills

the breath itself.

Wordless is all.

Those names make here

no sound nor sense.

Just streaming waters,

water in water,

chanting their songs.



There are these magical moments when you and I feel totally united in the

presence. Carried together by the actual flow of being we no longer exist as a

separate ‘you’ and ‘me’. This experience of unison is the highest form of

happiness we can share with each other.

We rarely encounter this graced state in our daily lives. Mostly, we experience

each other as two independent individuals who meet one another with

a certain known image of ourselves and of our relationships. We see each

other through the filter of our shared memories and stories; stories from the

past which are spontaneously triggered in our minds when we meet. The

moment we recognize each other, we are in a sense “born” together. In a flash

the identities of ‘you’ and ‘me’ – both inherent in this specific relationship –

emerge and interact with each other. Only a counterpart, a vis-à-vis, can call

us into this known identity with its corresponding behavior patterns. Though

we experience one another as separate individuals, we belong entirely together.

Like the two sides of a coin we are the two necessary elements of one

unique relationship.

‘I am’ because ‘you are’ and ‘you are’ because ‘I am’. You are my mirror

without which I cannot see ‘myself’ as this specific ‘I’. In each encounter with

another ‘you’, a new ‘me’ appears in the mirror.



After the walking meditation, I sit down in the middle of the meadow. It is

late August and the blades of grass have mostly dried out. Still, the meadow

is covered with a sea of white lacy flowers and the green of wild fennel. I

marvel at how each one of these hundreds of modest flowers is different and

unique, together forming a floating tapestry of beauty. When they dry, they

roll up into an exquisite basket-like pod that holds their seeds.

Out of nowhere, a butterfly with blue and red wings, perched upon one

of these flowers, catches my eye. This unexpected impression spontaneously

erases any sense of ‘me’. It is as if I and all my knowledge, are blown away.

There is only seeing. The butterfly, the flowers, the grass and everything

around are united in the presence. No observer stands in between.



Similar to the cells of the body, the ‘I’ is constantly destroyed and renewed

through the ongoing thought processes. Because this movement – with its

repetitive rules and patterns – is occurring faster than one can perceive a

sense of a continuous identity is created. Like the body, it appears to remain

constant, day after day. However, both the ‘I’-form and the body-form are

perpetually coming and going, always being rebuilt. They only seem to be

permanent, like the appearance of a standing wave on a river, which is nothing

other than flowing water.

And yet, in spite of the two forms being nothing other than a sequence of

fleeting appearances, we have become accustomed to believing that we possess

a constant physical and psychological form which only changes very

slowly, until it finally disintegrates in death. This is one of the primary illusions

that we all share.



Light itself is invisible, and yet it is the source of everything that is visible. The

same is true of our world: the creator, the source, the original ground is invisible

and only in its creations can it be recognized. The invisible lets the visible

appear. To be witnessing, to be the “conscious awareness” in all that is and in

all that happens – what mystery, what wonder! Light and darkness play with

each other, and between them are the colors – the rainbow door between us

and the one; presence and time, being and thinking, the unknowable and the


Sensing, listening, thinking, feeling – all is flowing. Thoughts are billowing

with gushes of wind. Breath moves the walls of the body in a gentle,

flowing motion. All forms, all appearances, all worlds melt into one: stone

and sound, scent and light, water and air, all things, all beings and creatures,

and the multicolored world of the ‘I’.

Each moment is new, bringing with it its own particular flavor. What is is,

and what is, is happening. Everything has its place: all nuances, all emotions,

all forms and all extremes in each world. What is always there is presence,

untouched by all. Each conscious moment contains the whole of all that ever

was and yet, as itself, it is a unique and timeless new creation with neither a

past nor future. Time and timelessness sit side by side. The present is happening

and in it, time – the formless flow and the world of form. The formless

shines out of the form as the intensity of being in its singular beauty – and its

aliveness is presence.

The known world flows inside the unknown. I, with my past, my fears,

dreams, plans and joys move together with you and all else through the unknown.

We need not get rid of anything. We don’t have to achieve or change

anything. This can only lead us onto illusive paths. What we need is to see

and to be touched by what is. The present with its presence is shining.

In order to see what is, we have to attend to it. This is only possible when

our inattention and blindness become visible. They cease to be the moment

they are seen for what they really are. And with that the seeming reality of all

separation, which is the root of our suffering, comes to an end. Suffering results

from division and time; it needs a ‘me’ that has an illusion of continuity.

In the immediate present, all suffering ceases naturally and transforms into

compassion. Pain and love unite.


Now is the present, is presence. Presence is not happening in life but

rather, all that is happening occurs in presence. In itself, presence consists

of nothing recognizable. While we human beings act out our lives, with its

deeds and dramas, on the stages of our various worlds everything is made of

presence. The Now is present even while we live in our memories, our stories

and our films. Even when we lose our way, even when we fight one another,

we are always in the middle of the flow of being.


You are this flowing present.

I am this flowing present.

Everything is.


Our path – as incomprehensible as it may seem – is always the right one. Together

we are moved along it until we wake up, or die without ever awakening.

To surrender to the flow is all we need to do.


Allowing oneself to rest.

Pausing and listening.

What most wondrous surrender!

We stop all our doing.

The space opens before us.

And everything becomes silent.

Conscious space touches the brain.

With it comes presence,

in all its fullness, in all its emptiness.

The lost son has returned home.



Thousands of arms

in Shiva’s dance.

Kaleidoscopes in all his hands,

shimmering bubbles of the real.

Faster and faster the circles turn,

enchantment, terror, transience.

All swirls, glistens and bewilders,

arising and passing in the flight at once.

While Shiva – deep inside,

stands still and smiles.


(p. 192)

Each moment presents the challenge and opportunity to consciously practice

achieving this sensitive balance: on the one hand, to actively turn one’s attention

towards the actual, to perceive what is happening and to be able to respond;

and, on the other hand, to simultaneously surrender, without any resistance,

to the flow, and give in to what is. This requires a constant, conscious

practice of attentiveness, of listening and acceptance – with patience. It requires

the freedom to simultaneously be ‘somebody’, ‘nobody’ and ‘all’.

In this way, we walk – or “are walked” – through the world and through

life, having an identity and having no identity, acting as ‘me’ and being the

action of ‘all’ in this very moment. Sometimes the ‘others’ appear distinctly

separate from ‘me’, while, at other times, we all are suddenly united in the

activity of the Now. And – always and everywhere – there is presence. ‘I’ am

presence. ‘You’ are presence. All is presence.

Presence is the invisible, ungraspable, indescribable source, essence and reality

of all. It is beyond form and non-form. It is beyond any category or description.

Presence dances the dance of all manifestation. Presence dissolves

all manifestation.

Now, the beauty of our essential being shines, and we are a light in the light.

Whatever happens, wherever the winds blow or the tides shift – we are at