Silver Threads...The Sound of Silence
‘The foundation of understanding is the willingness to listen.’
Do you sit in silence? Do you remember the last time you listened to your own breath, the action of taking air into your body and expelling it? How long has it been since you have felt the stillness that is your soul? Unless you have set aside a daily period of time for a mediation practice, the answer to these questions may be - a long, long time.
We live in a noisy world. If the TV is not playing, the radio is. There are fire engine sirens outside the window; phones ringing, chiming or playing a tune; personal music boxes in our ears, and then, there is the sweet but loud sound of family. Could we possibly be addicted to noise? We even have machines that play sounds called white noise!
When conversing with others during your day, how often do you say ‘what?’ or, ‘huh?’ Might that be because there are so many other distracting noises surrounding you that you just can’t focus? Have you forgotten how freeing, how relaxing it feels to sit in the sound of silence?
Did you know there is power in silence? The quiet has its own energy. If something is peaceful, is weakness inherent? Could it be that tranquility and strength are synonymous? What is it that you feel when the world around you is quiet? Do you have a sense of serenity when humanity is hushed? Can you be alone with yourself in stillness or does fear wiggle its way in? What is this power that exists within the sound of silence and how do you garner that energy?
Imagine, if you will, that silence is a mountain lake, and you are floating on the lake in a little, wooden rowboat. The waters of the lake, a crystal clear shade of blue reflecting a cloudless sky, are teeming with the energy of the earth; energy that gives mankind his substance. Beneath the boat all is serene, not a ripple mars the mirror-like surface. The little boat is the noise and solidly separates you from the water, the silence. As you sit separated you cannot absorb the profound energies of the lake. Life rushes by, your head pounds with the thunder that is the storm of each of your days.
Focus on your breathing. As you bring yourself to a place of peace and quiet, the boat slowly disappears, dissolving into nothingness. As sound fades away, you become one with the lake, floating, and in the process receive the power and energy held within the silence. In the quiet, there is strength. Your mind clears; your heart rhythm calms; your breathing is unfettered and healthy. In the silence the tape that plays in your head simply stops playing. Now is the time to listen. What will you find within the embrace of the sound of silence?
This may sound simple, you will find enhanced energy - bigger and better than a jolt of espresso, more exciting than a bite of the smoothest dark chocolate. You will find the grace of patience, mental clarity and a fuel that will recharge and renew you. What do you have to do to dissolve the boat? When should you begin? I invite you to begin today. When you finish reading this essay! Press the end button on your cell phone and turn off the sound on your landline. No television, no radio, no earbuds! If the quiet causes you to shudder or shiver, to look over your shoulder, or to wonder if anyone is looking for you, you really need the silence! Each moment lost in noise, is a moment of healing lost, an opportunity to evolve gone.
How much time do you need to spend within the sound of silence? That is up to you. How much time can you set aside before in your mind you create a new stress? Try 2 to 5 minutes the first time. Find a comfortable spot that is yours and yours alone. Wear loose, cozy clothing. A lighted candle adds to the ambiance, but is not necessary. Some of the benefits of sitting in silence, however brief (longer is better, 20 minutes gets a gold star) are reduced stress, feeling younger and brighter, working with improved energy, increasing work performance and output, strengthening your immune system, improving your health and flooding your being with happiness! How wonderful is that? Now it is quiet time! Shhhhhhh