Silence echoed in the room; it might seem a contradiction but really it wasn’t. Here silence had a texture; it had a physical presence. It might caress and soothe you or it could oppress you if you weren’t in the right frame of mind. She’d learned to differentiate its different nature and feel. That didn’t mean she could benefit from it, but at least she was no longer as ignorant as when she first came here.
She’d come to find peaceful silence and serenity: a retreat from the crazy noise of the city, of her mind. But even now the silence oppressed her. She wasn’t in the right frame of mind. That’s what the Master had said ever since she arrived. Not once had he praised her, not once had he given a word of encouragement. He would watch her move among the other students and send her to the temple to find her place of peace.
She never did. Or rather she hadn’t yet. There might be stillness around her, but in her mind the noise never stopped; which was why the silence was oppressive. It demanded she quieted the never-ending racket of her brain. And she couldn’t. Even when she went through the motions the clamouring continued without a break. That was why she was sent away: because she went through the motions, she didn’t focus on them, live them.
There was only one time when the wheels of her mind shut down and the clamours echoing in her head stopped. And she was here because it had become an addiction that would destroy her. She’d sought help from a qigong Master hoping that maybe finding another way to focus might help. So far it hadn’t. Desperate, she pressed her hands together.
“Pressing harder won’t make you calmer Sasha-san.”
She sighed. She hadn’t even heard the change in the silence; the Master was quiet, almost quieter than silence itself. She didn’t understand that.
“You’re anxious; your breathing is erratic. It’s also noisy and it disturbs the silence.”
“I can’t find peace Master.”
At first there had been relief in using the title; now she heard her frustration. She’d expected to be guided, ushered through the way by someone who would hold her hand. Instead she was left to figure it out by herself. And she was failing lamentably.
“Because you search for it child. Let it come to you.”
She couldn’t. It never did; the only time it did… she stopped herself. She looked at the Master. She must stop: she was going back to her coping mechanism. When she couldn’t stop the noises, she searched for the silence that only pleasure brought her. But this man wouldn’t allow her to use him in such a way. And she didn’t want to. She hated herself for thinking about it.
“You search for a physical way to silence the noise in your mind child. Our lessons go beyond the physical. You need to be aware of your energy; to control its flow. Right now you let your body control you. Here.” He placed a finger on her head dantian. “And here.” He didn’t touch her but he definitely referred to her navel dantian. “You qi, you jing and shen are completely out of balance because you don’t know how to direct them.”
She didn’t understand, she was trying.
“You are trying. But you are thinking this process instead of living it.” He seemed to consider. “Think of it as a man and a woman together. That is how you stop the noise yes?”
She nodded. She wasn’t sure how he knew that but she didn’t mind.
There was balance in the act of love when the two people’s entire life energies were reaching for wuji. Because when love was at the heart of the act, jing, qi and shen were involved, the spirit could reach wuji and in the infinite void, there was only stillness.
That Sasha could understand; but pleasure was different for her. It was only physical. Her heart was never involved, nor her mind. That was the point. She could be just a body without thoughts or feelings for a moment that lasted as long as it did. It still stopped the noise. That was how she’d turned into a sex addict. That was why she was here looking for the silence. She knew that her coping mechanism was merely adding water to the wheel in her brains. She was the instrument of her own downfall.
The Master looked at her. And he smiled.
“You don’t understand the nature of your pain. Until you do, the noise will not stop.”
Could he be less cryptic?
“Why can’t you tell me? Show me? Aren’t you supposed to be my Master?”
“I’m merely a guide. I can only show you the way. I can’t make you walk the path.”
That was the point wasn’t it? She was trying to walk the path but she couldn’t seem to find it.
“Let it come to you child.”
He left her. She still didn’t have the answers, but maybe it wasn’t the point.
She’d always searched for answers to questions that sometimes had none. This was the reason for the racket in her mind. Maybe there were no answers to find. Only a moment of peace. Knowledge wasn’t wisdom after all. Suddenly the silence around her seemed to ease. Maybe, just maybe it was the beginning of her path. A path that would allow her to stop hating herself for what happened to her.