When I look back over 2011, I feel that one of the most significant things to happen in my spiritual journey has been the ‘discovery’ of a newly published little book by the awakened Romanian mystic, Ilie Cioara, who was born in 1916, and died in 2004. I am deeply moved as I read and reread it and have the strong impression that Cioara’s writings are going to have the same kind of impact as Nisargadatta Maharaj’s spiritual classic, I Am That.
The book is entitled: The Silence of the Mind and is the first in a tetralogy (1 of 4) to be published by Obooks. The other titles out in 2012 will be: The Wondrous Journey into the Depth of Our Being, Life is Eternal Newness and I Am Boundlessness.
Like, I Am That, this rare work has been made available to readers throughout the English-speaking world through a perceptive and awakened translator — in this case, Petrica Verdes. For the past few years, Verdes has been practicing meditation and living in various meditation communes in Italy, Germany and the UK. Translating Ilie Cioara’s work has been for him a labour of love and a process of spiritual growth.
Verdes said: “In 2002, I came across one of Ilie Cioara’s books in a bookshop, and I wrote the publisher straight away, asking if they could pass me the address of the author. The book just mesmerized me, I felt an energy around the text and I used to meditate with it and carry it with me.
To my surprise, after a month, I received a reply from the editor, with the author’s address and telephone number. I called him the same day and arranged a meeting with him the next morning. Ilie Cioara’s door was always open to whoever was interested in the truth. He didn’t ask any questions: you were the one who asked the questions, if you needed to.
In 2006. I was living in the UK and I had one of Ilie’s books in Romanian on me. I started reading excerpts in English to a friend and something happened, the idea of translating the book just took over my life. The translation just flowed spontaneously and effortlessly. I could feel Ilie’s presence. Every morning I started waking up spontaneously around 5am and the words just flowed. I didn’t have to do a translation, the book just translated itself.
The whole project was ‘my’ idea and ‘my’ personal effort. I started contacting many publishers, and finally, I found Obooks. I had created a facebook page and posted a few quotes from the book. Within 2 months, the page had 3,000 fans. That’s when OBooks accepted to publish the book.
Ilie Cioara’s teaching is very simple: just watch the mind, emotions, any movement of the fictitious self, and as the mind becomes quiet, the blissful, divine essence of your being is revealed. No need for masters, methods, techniques or rituals. In fact, any methods or rituals originate from and create a mental pattern, further strengthening the fiction and the prison of the ego. Our divine nature is infinite, boundless, blissful — and it cannot be attained through any efforts of the mind or of the ego.
If I had to sum his teaching in one sentence, it would be: when the mind is silent our inner divinity is revealed.
Witnessing our thoughts is a practice that can be done in any circumstances, throughout our waking hours, 7 days a week. Remembering not to give energy to the mind, knowing that when the mind is resting, a higher energy takes over, and it guides us through flashes of intuitive understanding.
From the moment you wake up in the morning, until you fall asleep at night, realize you’re not the mind. Just witness it. Whatever you do, whichever the circumstance. You get up, go to the bathroom to brush your teeth — this witnessing continues. You get dressed to go to work, witnessing is there, in the background. You get in the car and start driving, you keep on witnessing.
This witnessing is a miracle, though it doesn’t seem like it at first glance. The word “witnessing” isn’t very appealing, it’s a bit dry. Yet it holds the key to all the mysteries of existence. Witnessing cannot be understood by the mind. Witnessing unfolds in its eternal mystery. It needs to be practiced, it’s an experience.
We just “see” something and understand it profoundly, intuitively, without needing to filter any knowledge through the mind. This practice has become part of my life. It is a great gift to understand that truth is very simple. Applying it is more difficult, but this apparent difficulty is easily overcome with a little persistence and thirst for the divine.”
Ilie (rhymes with lily) is unique in a way, in the sense that he lived in almost complete isolation in Romania. Early in his life, he was hunted by the secret police and finally gaoled for six years because he did not support the communist regime. He seemed to be just an ordinary man, with a deep longing for the divine, living in very adverse circumstances. He belonged to no tradition of enlightenment, he wasn’t part of a lineage, he had no master, he never travelled to India.
Originally a Christian mystic, he repeated a mantra-like prayer frequently each day for over 20 years. One day, he felt an intuitive impulse to drop the mantra, and just practice ‘silence of the mind’, by listening to the noises on the street etc, in the now. After following this practice for a few years, one morning, as he was waking up from his sleep, ‘he’ suddenly experienced what some have called, ‘liberation’ or ‘enlightenment’.
Until the age of 55, when Ilie awakened spiritually, he hadn’t written a single page, and never tried to be a teacher. Because he lived in almost complete isolation, his words have a freshness and a direct simplicity, devoid of any spiritual jargon. Ilie felt the impulse to share his experience and insights using short verses which could give the reader a taste of no-mind. The verses were followed by prose explanations (see example below).
Most of these writings had to be hidden in the apartment of a friend, until 1990, when the iron curtain fell, so as not to be confiscated by the communist authorities. They describe the practice of ‘Self-knowing’ using all-encompassing Attention. Like Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti etc, his is a simple message of discovering our inner divine nature through the silence of the mind.
~ Book details: The Silence of the Mind, by Ilie Cioara. Trans. Petrica Verdes. Softcover: 145 pp. Obooks, John Hunt (Oct, 2011) ISBN:10: 1846948290 & 13: 978-1846948299
~ You can get good used copies Here