Prior to teaching A Course in Miracles, Tara Singh undertook a three year silent retreat. He gave three years of his life to silence! Can you imagine that? The discipline it took, the commitment . . .
People ask me sometimes why I read Tara Singh so closely, and listen to him on tape and video, and say he is my teacher even though he is deceased, even though we never met. I give my attention to him because he had an intensity of devotion and a willingness to do what was required without questioning it. Most of us have so many reasons not to study today or not to pray. Christ is right here and we are so casual! We don’t want to know what is real and we are always going to get around to changing tomorrow. We think we are serious but could we be silent for three years? Do we have the resources internally?
To say “no” is not to beat ourselves up but rather to be honest, and to see what is going on with us without bringing ideals and evasion into it. So we are not serious yet, so what? If we can see it, then we can make a decision to do it differently, to end our casualness and come to clarity. Honesty is a gift because it always allows what is essential to be revealed. It has no secrets. It respects the truth too much.
He did not make silence an ideal. Rather, he made it a gift. It was not about him but about others! And so the need of his brothers and sisters could not be excluded, or it was no longer a gift.
One of the aspect of Tara Singh’s retreat into silence was that he sometimes spoke! Perhaps you think that makes him a hypocrite. But he talks about it briefly in Dialogues on A Course in Miracles. He says that when we would go out walking, people who needed directions would always find him – how do I get to this street? How do I find that park? He was amazed by this – that people with that need would always turn to him. He could walk down the beach surrounded by people playing and relaxing and recreating and not one of them would reach out, but as soon as somebody had a need then they would find him and ask him for help.
And he helped them. He gave what was asked. He did not see this as a compromise or hypocrisy.
But I never felt like I was “talking” in directing them because I was meeting a need. The need and the silence became one (265).
He goes on to say that at the relative level – at the level of the world at which most of us are engaged – there is always going to be contradiction. We can’t avoid it and shouldn’t expect to.
You see, Tara Singh is pointing us in a new direction. He is intimating a space that the wise always ask that we seek out and make our home. He did not make silence an ideal. Rather, he made it a gift. It was not about him but about others! And so the need of his brothers and sisters could not be excluded, or it was no longer a gift. Does that make sense? It won’t at the level of relative thought – where right and wrong are the law. But it is very clear at the level of love where our brothers and sisters are the means of salvation.
The clarity and love inherent in this brings me to tears. It is so simple and clear.
So the more I read and study Tara Singh, the more beautiful and helpful his example becomes. He is not admirable because he could stop talking for three years. He is admirable and helpful because the silence was at such a level it could include words that were offered in love. He could sustain the silence while helping those who were lost.
This is why I call him “Teacher.”