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Experiencing ''the Great Silence'' within us - Howard Thurman
by Craig Pearson, PhD
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14 November 2013
The Excellence in Action page of Global Good News is featuring this article with photos.
Please click on the following link to read more about 'Experiencing ''the Great Silence'' within us—Howard Thurman'.
The article features a new essay by Craig Pearson, PhD,* about Howard Thurman (1899-1981), a distinguished minister, author, philosopher, theologian, educator, civil rights leader, and one of the most important figures in African American history.
Rev. Dr. Thurman grew up in a world of segregation. He was ordained a Baptist minister and became the dean of chapel and a faculty member in the School of Divinity at Howard University, in Washington, DC. Later he taught in the School of Theology at Boston University and served as dean of chapel there, the first black to hold a deanship at a predominantly white university. He mentored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was doing his doctoral studies at BU, introducing King to Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent resistance.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Howard Thurman
In the essay, Dr Pearson writes about Thurman:
One theme that runs through his books is the experience of deep inner peace and silence. Here is an example:
There is no clear distinction between mind and spirit; but there is a quality of mind that is more than thought and the process of thought: this quality involves feelings and the wholeness in which the life of man has its being. . . . What is being considered is what a man means totally when he says, ''I am.'' This ''self'' shares profoundly in the rhythm that holds and releases but never lets go. There is the rest of detachment and withdrawal when the spirit moves into the depths of the region of the Great Silence, where world weariness is washed away and blurred vision is once again prepared for the focus of the long view where seeking and finding are so united that failure and frustration, real though they are, are no longer felt to be ultimately real. Here the Presence of God is sensed as an all-pervasive aliveness which materializes into concreteness of communion: the reality of prayer. Here God speaks without words and the self listens without ears. Here at last, glimpses of the meaning of all things and the meaning of one's own life are seen with all their strivings. To accept this is one meaning of the good line, ''Rest in the Lord—O, rest in the Lord.''1
— ''The Need for Periodic Rest,'' in The Inward Journey
If you practice the Transcendental Meditation technique, you may feel a special resonance with Thurman's words. The purpose of the Transcendental Meditation technique is to enable us to have this experience of inner peace and quietness every day, twice daily, and not to leave it to chance.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is simple, natural, and effortless—so simple that even 10-year-old children can learn it. It has nothing to do with concentrating or controlling the mind. It simply allows one to dive within—to go beyond, or transcend, perception and thought, effortlessly arriving at the experience of consciousness in its simplest, most silent state, pure and unbounded. This is 'the Great Silence' Thurman talked about, the wholeness at our core.
Enjoy the full article on the Excellence in Action page.
1. Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey (Richmond, Indiana: Friends United Press, 1961), 112.
* Craig Pearson, Ph.D., is Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. His forthcoming book, The Supreme Awakening: Developing the Infinite Potential Within, includes chapters that highlight the experiences of higher states of consciousness of men and women throughout history.
Copyright © 2013 Maharishi Foundation USA
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