Silence? Solitude? The quiet moments when realization of a path opens for the first time? When old paths finally end, and new ones begin?
What is this hope we have, when at once we suddenly understand that within us lies all of the power and knowledge we need, and the freedom to make use of it? And how do we come to this?
For each of us, it is different. I have tried solitude and silence, as well as passive meditation while working. I have tried walking, running, exercising, sleeping, dreaming, smoking, drinking, eating, screaming, laughing, talking and listening. Answers to my hardest questions have arrived while spending time doing each of these things. Answers have arrived while I was doing nothing.
So many of us have heard that in order to hear "the small quiet voice inside", we have to be silent enough to hear it. My experience is different. Silence works. So does talking. Working works, too. Each of the items I just listed above have at times, produced moments of intense clarity and understanding.
We may call these moments "Eureka!" moments. We may call them any old thing we like, but the thrill of the moment is the filling up of hope into an emptying cup. It is sometimes the moment before we run dry, and pass out from exhaustive searching. It can be the moment right before we are about to make a bad mistake. It can also be right after we have just arrived at a different "Eureka!" moment, and even greater clarity lies inside of our grasp.
Whatever the moment is called, whenever it comes, I have found that nothing works every time, for everyone; especially not for me. Within my experience, I have learned that everything can work, sometimes, and sometimes, nothing works ever.
Sometimes we just put too much pressure on the moment, and other times, not enough. Sometimes we fight the voice within, and other times we lean too much on some new piece of knowledge, and forget that we may already know what we need to know.
In whatever way we arrive at the "Eureka!", it has been my experience that it is different each time. I have striven to force that moment sometimes, and never have I been able to bring it about on my own. The recipe was never complete enough for me to pull "Eureka!" out of the oven of my brain without just the right amount of seasoning.
I am left in the knowledge that the greatest seasoning we can apply to the greatest moments of clarity in our lives is just to live and let these moments season by themselves. Sure, one "Eureka!" moment may come some day while I am in solitude. But there is a much greater chance, I think, that it will come whenever it comes, regardless of what I am doing at the moment. The only thing I have to do at that moment is to be alive to experience it.
This is life at its most patient; beginning to understand fully that all things are seasoned not by my effort and willfulness, but by events and circumstances that are for the most part beyond my control. I do what I can do. I am what I am, and I am who I am. This is life at its best.
These are the best of times.