The famous 13th century poet, scholar and Sufi mystic Rumi said,
‘There is a voice that doesn’t use words… Listen’.
Since I was a young boy, whenever something was troubling or confusing me, I would get a gut feeling that I needed to be by myself or go for a walk alone; especially by the sea. Somewhere deep inside, I had known with certainty that if I did just that, the solutions would come… and they did.
I don’t know how I knew; it had always just been there!
Around twenty years ago, whilst wandering the cobbled streets of Kensington, no aim in sight, no goal in mind, just presence, in the moment, in flow; a woman named Fatima bumped into me and asked ‘would you happen to know where the Jamacian embassy is?’ Those were the days when books like ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ by Freud and ‘Essays and Aphorisms’ by Schopenhauer pulled me like magnets.
Fatima was on her to way to a book launch at the embassy. I asked her where she was from. She replied ‘Saint Lucia’. I recall her saying that her family owned a large part of the island, or something along those lines. I said to her, ‘I am walking in that direction, I will walk you there’. On the way she told me about her friend, Kwame Dawes, who was launching his book on Reggae culture, ‘Natural Mysticism: Towards a Reggae Aesthetic’, and she invited me to the book launch, at the embassy. Those were the days when I was even more open to new experiences, less inferences in my mind and so I kindly accepted. And what an experience it was!
Those were also the days when I was receiving messages which I may have ignored. The first book I had ever bought was on Astronomy – my curiosity about the world and what it meant resonated deeply with me.
Back then, I wrote some poems, which I very recently found. Where these insights came from, I have no idea. If you’re curious, here is one of them.
What is a dream?
A figment of one’s imagination, occurring in a split of a second
Can be of happiness, ecstasy or devastation
Making one hold on to the reality beyond
Which falls like a gust of wind
Into the deep valley of forever darkness
And then rises to cliffs of heavenly light
No thought of time
The past faded like a memory into the distance behind
The present numbing into the mind
The future fogged like an ancient moonstone mine
Just pure thought floating
Like a leaf of tropical palm tree
On a transparent crystal sea
The magnificent roaring waves
Guiding thought to the island
The island of beauty
Of shores, waterfalls and mountain valleys
And nature leading the rays of sunshine
Onto this place
Where no one may reach
Except for the one’s soul of whom this dream belongs
This imagination of reality with no galaxy of time!
Since the dawn of time, creative geniuses have said that their ideas did not come to them when they were thinking rationally, logically, or consciously about something. It was only after they had thought very carefully about something and then left it alone. Then like a bolt of lightning, their creative ideas appeared or downloaded into their minds. Often when they are in silence, in meditation, in nature, when relaxed, when gardening or doing something that requires no thinking. Like having a shower, shaving or walking.
Neuroscientists say that even when you’re not directly thinking of a task at hand, neural circuits concerned with the problem remain active, continuing the search for the solution. Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree, in the present moment, and when the apple fell, he discovered gravity.
I heard that Michael Jackson used to wake up in the middle of the night and phone his agent and say something like ‘it just came to me, it just came to me, write this idea down, write it down’. His agent would reply ‘Michael, it’s 3am in the morning. Let’s do this in the morning’. Michael would say ‘no no you have to write it down now, otherwise Prince will get it’.
Such experiences are sometimes referred to as ‘Eureka’, ‘Aha’, ‘Of-course’, ‘Peak’ or ‘Transcendental’ moments.
People can discover their inner voice, which is the core virtue of any creative undertaking. It is also the magic of the creative process when the unique idea arises from depths of our mind as if it was instead coming through us rather than from us.
Rumi also said: ‘The morning breeze has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep’.
Ladies and gentlemen… could those secrets he was talking about be the words of the silent voice?
The voice that uses no words had always just been there, ever present… just listen!