Kriya and the Eternal Quietude

by southwardtide

I’ve been meditating. At first sporadically, then regularly and now sporadically again. I believed once I became a regular meditator then the desire to go within, to experience the soporific bliss of the quiet mind, would never leave me. I believed I would never stray from the path of spiritual enlightenment. But challenging my mind to shut up has proven to be much like physical exercise, on/off and sideways in binging frenzies. I wish it were not so. I wish I enjoyed routines and was less of a commitment phobe. Or that I was an early waker, a start-the-day on the right foot person, someone who did not forget important diurnal details like being grateful. I also wish I was less susceptible to my emotions. So be it. I am nothing but what I actually am.

We’ve started a bi-weekly group meditation practicing Kriya Yoga. On Mondays we meet at a yoga studio, the door open to a landscaped courtyard. In the dimming purple light, we enjoy the tired squawks of the island’s host of green parrots. On Thursdays, we meet at my mother’s surrounded by hundreds of my father’s orchids. Over the stereo comes the voice of the guru directing our breath and focus – up along the chakras, through the crown of the head, the base of the spine, mantras slipping softly through the blabbering particulars of the mind. Somehow this brings it all together and forgives my daily discrepancies. In the group, my meditation practice thickens into subtle shades of oblivion. Each time these friends and strangers coalesce with mats in hand, I am amazed. Why do they keep coming? Somewhere in the space of silence we become threaded together.

My father was a classical music aficionado who had also filmed some of the great performers and conductors of the past century – Karajan, Arthur Rubinstein, Menuin. In his last days with cancer, a friend threw a private concert in his honor at our house, with a harpsichordist, cellist and contra-tenor. At dinner, the contra-tenor asked my father what the most beautiful performance he had ever heard was. Later this contra-tenor would sing a cappella at Dad’s funeral. My father answered that it was the sound of silence in an ancient 10th century monastery, monks in genuflection, heads bowed to the great final prayer.