The Scrunch and the Silence


For about 20 years I used to jog about five times a week in Cheesequake State Park, a beautiful park which was about a mile from our house in New Jersey. Unless I just wasn’t in the mood I’d go out regardless of weather, be it pouring rain or deep snow. In such conditions I’d forego my jogging shoes for some light boots. My route wasn’t a loop; I’d jog out in one direction then walk back, retracing my steps. The walking back was my favorite part, the time when I could really absorb the beauty of the park’s four seasons with its sensory delights.

On some bright winter days there would be crisp, dry snow on the ground, and if it were the right depth, say 4-6 inches, it would make a beautiful scrunching sound as I walked through it. The sound was loud.

Every once in a while I would stop walking just to look around and to be in the moment from a different vantage point. What I would always notice first was that when the scrunching stopped, a vast silence would emerge from underneath it. And to me, the reality of this silence was that it had been there all along. On the common sense level this seems to be wrong, because silence plus sound equals sound. If the trumpet is playing and the tuba is not, what fills the moment is music. There is no silence in the moment.

But the silence I refer to is of a different level. It is the silence of pure consciousness: the atman, the witness, the inner Self. When my mind is spinning it is that in me which does not itself spin, but observes the spinning. Indeed it observes literally everything in the universe yet remains completely untouched by that which it observes. It underlies this illusory world known as maya, and is the source that makes the emergence of maya possible.

Without this silence, there would be no scrunching.

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