Life is full of the hustles and bustles of sounds. We are inundated with them on a daily basis. So much so that we hardly even notice the noise. Many spiritual people seek silence. Many people who don’t consider themselves to have a spiritual bone in their bodies seek silence. Why? What can we learn from being quiet?
We all seek the refuge of silence in one form or another. Like I stated above, some people go on retreats to be silent, others are not so formal in their silence. For instance, my father likes to go fishing alone. He never comes back with any fish though. When I was little I asked him why he goes fishing if he never gets any fish. His answer was simple enough for a child to understand yet so profound as I reflect on his answer. “It is a time for me to just breathe and be.” Years later when I asked him again, he told me he goes fishing because it is his way to reflect on nature. It is a time for him to let go of all this thoughts, anxieties and responsibilities. He can let go of himself, dropping all the “masks” he wears daily for different people: his family, his clients, his friends, strangers. He says his mind is at rest and he feels a complete sense of ease and connection to all things. He gets new ideas during this time. He isn’t so “airy-faery” as he calls it and doesn’t formally meditate as he is a church going man. So it is his form of meditation, his way to commune with God.
I think this is why many people seek silence as a refuge. Silence allows people a reprieve from the bombardment of sound. It creates space so we can hear ourselves feel and think. It’s a gift we give ourselves to recharge our energies and to check in with ourselves. Like my dad said, it is a way to commune with God. It is a way to find God within us and hear that Divine voice.
Oftentimes the mind is so busy thinking and overloaded with numerous thoughts that it can be quite difficult to make decisions. When we silence the mind, we allow the mind to simmer down and settle to a relaxed state, active relaxation. It is during these times that we can then hear our intuitive voice which emerges from the Source of silence. When we can hear this inner knowing, we can never make a bad choice. The inner voice will never steer us in the wrong direction.
When “city people” go into the country, they are oftentimes struck with the overwhelming sound of silence. We are so inundated with sounds and noise that silence may some time to get used to. A friend of mine visited me from India and disappeared in my backyard for long while. When he returned I asked him if he went for a walk. He replied, “No, I was just sitting your backyard and was amazed of the silence you are blessed with here. Never in all my life have I experienced such silence! I could hear myself breathe and hear my own heart beat. I could hear the voice of God within me! I was so overcome by it that it brought tears of joy to my eyes. You are so blessed to live in such a quiet space.” Wow! Powerful words! I know how lucky I am to live in the open space of Central Northern New Mexico but I had never thought of the silence in this way before.
After he left, I would sit outside and listen to the silence. It was true what he said. I could hear myself breathe and listen to my heartbeat. It was then, I got serious about meditating. I understood the power of silence with my meditation practice. I learned to allow myself to be, like my father described. I could watch the thoughts move in and out of my awareness with out getting drawn into my own inner dialogue. It is like laying on my back outside as I watch the clouds morph from one shape to another. I could just be! And I feel so child-like and free when I do this! Silence is truly wonderful!
It has become my teacher. I learn to merge into Oneness with all beings and all realms. I learn more about myself each time I journey into the quietness of myself. It releases accumulated stress and anxiety. I feel more creative and alive. I gain insights into the mysteries of life. Silence is an indescribable experience and should be discovered by all! After my time in silence I move back into the world of sounds with a deeper sense of grace and connection to others. People will often say I look different, younger. “What are you doing to reverse your aging?” they ask. I smile and say, “silence…..”