When you close your eyes, the absence of sight can open you to the emptiness in which all forms arise. When sound fades, that absence can open you into the silence from which all sounds arise. When you are still, that absence can open you to the stillness in which all movement arises.
This emptiness, this silence, this stillness is the presence of being and the essence of peace. But it is only half of the equation. This emptiness is also the fullness of presence. This silence is also the universal sound. This stillness is also the universal movement of life.
It is like the utter emptiness and utter fullness of space. The peace of being manifests not as a restless or anxious striving, but as a creative unfolding.
Consider color. All colors are somewhere on the continuum between white (as fullness) and black (as emptiness). White and black can be taken to represent an eternal struggle between good and evil, or as the primary polarities of the great mystery of being as fullness and emptiness. The former is the view of dual consciousness; the latter is the view of nondual consciousness and the view of non-duel peace.
If you close your eyes and sense deeply in your arms and legs, you can open to a sense of space, of spacious presence. Visualize this as black. Now regard this black as negative, lack, death, ignorance, evil — it is certainly not a peaceful condition. Now open to black as the primordial source of darkness and emptiness from which all emerges. It is the infinite peace of space.
Now breathe deeply into your belly center and visualize red. Feel this red as anger, destructive passion, blood and battle. Now sense and breathe into it as the red of life, of universal vibration. It is the peace of the play of life.
Now sense, breathe and feel in your heart, and visualize green. Associate this with the green of envy and all the contraction of heart that goes with this. Now recognize the needless suffering that comes from this assumption of lack, and fill the heart with the green of compassion. Before and beyond the suffering is the rose-pink of love. Feel this for all, including yourself.
Now with closed eyes, rest your attention in the center of your head and visualize a spacious field of blue. Associate this with the mood of being blue, and tell yourself, "I am, my life is, life is worthless, a failure, meaningless."
Contract your posture and feel how you can get yourself depressed. Now visualize the vast open sky of mind as an infinite field of true blue. This is the peace of consciousness abiding in itself, beyond words and thoughts.
Now visualize a column of violet light connecting belly, heart and head with the sense of "I am." As an assertion of absolute separation and autonomy, it can be violent, like the royal purple of a mad king with unlimited power. Now enter into the high spiritual vibration of violet and the peace of "I am" that abides in the peace of its own universal being.
Visualize the vast space filled with radiant yellow as happiness.
That cheerfulness that is dependent on the circumstances and mood of the moment is a very vulnerable and tenuous source of peace indeed. Now open to the yellow of the eternal now, the radiance of real joy. Feel the difference.
Finally, open to all of the above as the white of oneness, one presence. All is held in the larger context of oneness, in peace.
Now tap into the white that is over against black, as humans have experienced in racial conflict through the ages. Now hold even that in the larger peace of oneness, and be.
Ed Hirsch conducts free, drop-in weekly groups in the practice of presence at a local Ashland residence. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
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