Sometimes I wonder if people who lived long ago had naturally quieter minds. I remember a line from the Bhagavad Gita about how noisy the mind is – and that was written about 2000 years ago. Perhaps people's minds were just as busy thousands of years ago as they are today. You’d think they were a little less busy though. Here’s that Gita quote, "Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, powerful, violent; trying to control it is like trying to tame the wind.” Krishna responds that it is difficult to silence the mind, but not impossible.
But is it necessary (for enlightenment)? The short answer, at least my answer is – I don’t know. Well that wasn’t very helpful was it?
Okay here’s a longer answer (not a really long answer, don’t worry). I suspect it works like this: Non-identification with thought (which is necessary for enlightenment) is a result of becoming aware of thought through meditation. And silence of the mind tends to be a result of this process of non-identification. And although silence of the mind seems to be a natural and perhaps unavoidable (positive?) consequence of non-identification, it is not directly a necessary condition for awakening to occur. Or is it? I still don’t know. This is an open question. Perhaps I’ll write more on this in a future post.