Riding in the front of the train, we encounter oncoming time, what is factually, energetically happening right in front of us, NOW. Speculation, in contrast, is riding in the caboose, the back of the train, inundated with mindless ruminating on life lived or life possibly to be lived, as the energetic facts of our life—what is happening now—passes us by without our awareness. Speculation plants the seeds of obsession, which in turn generates phantom life—energetic capital spent on an unreal world, an abstract world that runs on our vital energy. Energetic fact disappears as we are inundated with phantom “what ifs.”
Phantom life is generated by obsessional thinking before sleep or upon awakening in the middle of the night. Phantom life is worry, energy given over to the conjuring mind. Phantom life literally sucks the life out of us. Phantom life cannot exist if we don’t fund it with vast amounts of our energy.
In order to perceive the true energetic facts of our lives, we need silence—detachment from the internal dialogue that incessantly conjures our view of the world and all that we encounter. We need silence so we can see what is really there.
Silence is not the absence of noise, nor the absence of dialogue. Silence is mastery over where we choose to place our attention. If we let the mind say what it will, let the noise in the surround remain while we disengage our attention from its activity, we unhook, or de-tach. In this way, we free our awareness.
I offer a few simple examples of phantom thought and practical aids to achieving silence. If I really focus my awareness on an inhalation, I notice that I cannot hold a thought. If I am gripped by a thought that evolves into a phantom story, I notice that my breathing slows to a mere maintenance level as the story takes precedence. If I shift my awareness away from the phantom story that my mind is busy conjuring up and take a deep breath instead, the story desists. The two cannot exist simultaneously.
If I do Tensegrity, the Magical Passes of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage, I cannot maintain a thought. If I step into thought, I cannot remember the next move in the pass. I cannot maintain thought and accuracy of movement simultaneously. Magical Passes shift attention away from the internal dialogue, offering moments of silence. Any focused physical movement achieves the same outcome.
If I stare at a candle flame and listen to my internal dialogue, I notice that I lose connection to the flame. The flame remains, however, inviting my attention back, offering the opportunity to burn away my attachment to thought.
In practicing moments of silence, we eventually achieve mastery over phantom life; we hone our energy to be utilized with intent. In silence, we are fully present to the energetic facts of our lives. In silence, our energetic reserves are fully prepared to engage and live to the fullest, in NOW time.
In silence, from the front of the train,