There is only one power in the universe. It doesn’t matter what you call it. You can call it God, you can call it Soul, the Universe, Kwame, Louise, Jason, whatever. It’s not what you call something that gives it meaning. As one of my friends (who loves accounting!) often says it’s substance over legal form. This one force that flows through everything is indivisible. You can’t cut it in half, you can’t divide it. It’s ONE. Only ONE. This ONE force flows through you and me. But it’s often tempting for me to regard myself, you and this force as separate from one another.
It’s easy for this to happen because we almost always give a division for everything in our physical life. Male and female. Up and down. North or South. Light and dark. Hot and cold. Good and bad. These are all dichotomies and splits that we have in our lives. We are immersed in this division. We even see our mind and heart as separate entities. And we often wrestle if we should follow our hearts or lead with our minds. Even though the physical world is made up of these dichotomies, we have to learn how to fuse them.
That’s what silence does for me. Because no matter how hard you try to cut silence in half, it’s like zero: you still get silence. The Zen philosophy says “it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. And it’s the space inside the vase that makes the vase.” It can also be said that the space within us is the real us. We stay silent and constant within an ever-changing body. In fact, 99% of what makes us is invisible: our thoughts, personality, and emotions. Finding that silence and embracing it means that you go to the place within you that you cannot divide. Just like you can’t divide the source, you can’t divide your essence either.
Embracing the power of silence is a way to know your source and yourself. As an enthusiastic and extroverted founder, I often find myself running at a million miles an hour. I’ve had to make special efforts to look after my well-being by ensuring that I embrace stillness and silence. This is why I make it part of my morning routine. It truly prepares me for almost anything that the day presents. I get to relax knowing with more certainty that GOD has my back no matter what. For example, over the last few weeks, we had some stresses getting our water bottles manufactured and delivered to the important TEDGlobal event in Tanzania. Our products had been held up at the Tanzania customs, and they were asking $18,000 to release the bottles. For a minute, my mind was racing with thoughts like “Are we ever going to get these bottles? Will this whole trip be a waste? All this hassle and no one will even get a TED bottle?”
I woke up on the last day of the TED conference and decided to be still for a while, just be grateful, and quiet my mind to silent levels. I continued to think of all the amazing things that had happened to me during those 4 days at the conference and how blessed I truly am. I stayed in this quiet space for a few minutes. I got ready for the day ahead with less anxiety about the bottles, knowing that all I could do was trust that Life/God is always working for me. I met Waleed 20 mins later and, BOOM, he said the bottles had arrived in the early hours of that morning. All was good! In fact, the bottles arriving on the last day was going to be a sweet send-off gift for all the attendees. Our bottles would stand out rather being amongst several other gifts in the gift bag. Everyone would really see our bottles and understand GiveMeTap’s impact and mission.
This experience reminded me that when you make meditation a daily practice and embrace the power of silence, you get to know your source. You make conscious contact with the source. And there’s so much healing and renewed energy that can be found when in contact with the One source. As we begin to embrace silence, we begin to see the world as connected and ONE. We reduce our frictions with one another. We can begin to see ourselves in everyone and everything. It’s one of the few experiences that we can have in our daily lives that comes close to spiritual awakening.
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