The seers of ancient Mexico state that the only barrier between this world and infinity is the internal dialogue. The internal dialogue is the incessant conversation that plays in our heads from the moment of waking to the moment of sleeping. These inner conversations continuously tell us who we are and interpret, non-stop, the events and people around us. With our attention so fixated and monopolized by these inner conversations, we are hardly available to perceive or experience anything outside the world this internal dialogue generates.
The seers of ancient Mexico describe dreaming as a time when we are naturally freed of the internal dialogue and, as a result, journey into other worlds or other potential realms of experience. Those seers cultivate this natural phenomenon into a conscious art of dreaming where they volitionally journey into infinity.
Other traditions such as Yoga and Buddhism have discovered similar pathways to exploring infinity by achieving inner silence in meditation. Though deeply attracted to the value of these esoteric traditions, most Westerners experience considerable difficulty engaging in these practices. Perhaps it is the added burden we Westerners encounter at every nook and cranny of our existence—the external dialogue constantly telling and selling us on who we are, what we need, what’s new, what’s best and, most recently, the addition of all the latest news from our friends on Facebook. Is there any Western practice that can lead us to inner silence? I propose: Repetition.
When I was a preteen I was abruptly torn out of public junior high school, mid-year, and placed in Sister John Michael’s seventh-grade class at Saint Ignatius Loyola grammar school. Sister John Michael was horrified that I was left-handed but, even worse, that the quality of my handwriting was a dead give-away of demonic influence. For Sister John Michael the most important things in life were presentation and uniformity. I failed at proper lowercase loops on L’s, which I was taught must be clearly differentiated from loopless T’s. Lowercase F’s and P’s must sink below the line at the proper depth and angle, never interfering with subsequent letters on the next line. And of course, all letters must be consistently drawn, clones of each other. Sister John Michael taught me, through shame and fear, but most importantly through repetition: endless pages of letters until I got them right, consistently.
Repetition is a pathway to inner silence. If I mindlessly wrote a page of letters I was sure to receive a scolding, a sentence to blackboard writing after school under the watchful eyes of Sister John Michael, and the insistence that my mother sign my heavily marked up homework filled with red corrections. Hence, repetition must include mindfulness, being fully present versus falling asleep at the wheel of habit as the internal dialogue resumes its incessant chatter.
Don Juan made it clear that setting an intent and the repetition of it is key to harnessing intent. My suggestion to reach inner silence, the gateway to infinity, is to set the intent for inner silence, repeat it incessantly, with mindfulness, whenever it comes to mind: in the shower, walking, going off to sleep, waiting, etc. As with all meditation, attach to no outcome, yet know with certainty that silence will come. Expect nothing, wait with patience; simply repeat: “Inner silence, inner silence, inner silence…”
I send my gratitude to Sister John Michael, wherever she may be, for teaching me this deep shamanic practice of repetition. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that she’d be proud of my handwriting, which I’m sure she’d still judge to be possessed!
If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.
Until we meet again,