Silence

How do you talk about silence with out breaking it?  It’s important, yet I can barely explain why with words.  There is a power in silence, but like all power it must be used with wisdom and not as a weapon.  We’ve all felt the bruising silent treatment or have lost something important because we failed to break our silence.

Balance.  Difficult to achieve and regretful when we fail to have it.

Sit in silence, listen and fill your body with the breath of life.  Let your troubles fade while seeking the voice of wisdom and strength.  In prayer we talk to God, in silence we listen for answers.  It’s in the quiet of the mind that we most often hear the hope, comfort, and words of strength that we need.

Gordon Hempton, the author of the book, One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet, said, “Silence isn’t the absence of something, but the presence of everything.”

Have you ever sat in the deep forest by a stream and listened to the water splashing over the rocks?  Have you breathed that air and heard the wind high in the tree tops? Have you sat where no human sound disturbs your mind?  It is in these quiet moments when we can breath in healing and listen for words of wisdom in the clouds.

Meditation depends on a spirit of silence where we quiet our mind and listen to just one thing.   Chanting, music, or movement is sometimes used, but the point is to be open to the infinite and attune our spirit to the possibility of everything.

Our world is increasingly getting louder and quiet is fading.  TV, radio, news, and social media demand our attention and steal from us our rest and strength that a quiet rainy day can bring.  We move from outrage to outrage shutting out hope and love.  When was the last time you heard a story of hope on the evening news.

Noise, the pounding drum and crashing cymbal are the tools of those who would demand our attention and fear.  Politicians vie power by loudly calling out our fears or inventing enemies for us to stand against.  Incessant and driving they don’t give us time to think and respond.  Instead they pound the drum of hate, instill in our hearts fear and drive out love, friendship and hope.

Politicians, media and so many people view silence as a weakness.  To be quiet is viewed as giving up or not caring.  Sometimes it is.  The trick is to know when to stand silent and not be drawn into the fray and when to speak with quiet wisdom.  The  trick is to have times of silence that clears our minds, focuses our thoughts, and enables our strength to be wisdom.  Fighting for a cause or a truth should never be out of fear, but rather as the result of quiet consideration of the consequences of both not acting and acting.

I don’t have the right words today.  I don’t know how to say that we must turn off the noise and listen to the silence of the wind, waves, and flowing water.

How can I say in words, the beautiful world I see in the silence of night?

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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35 Responses to Silence

  1. Debra says:

    This is a lovely essay, Andrew, and a topic near and dear to me. I embrace as much silence as I can find, and that’s not always easy. I can cultivate “near” silence without too much trouble, but I am very sound sensitive and can always hear the gardener a block away with the noisy leaf blower. But the attitude of silence I can typically access, and it’s as important to me as breathing. I see it is for you, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Silence is a good friend to me. When Silence seems to have gone off and about, especially at 2 in the morning when I wake with a noisy head, I prayerfully go searching for Silence, who fortunately always appears and I feel drawn back to balance. Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Baydreamer says:

    I think you said it well! I love this paragraph:
    “Have you ever sat in the deep forest by a stream and listened to the water splashing over the rocks? Have you breathed that air and heard the wind high in the tree tops? Have you sat where no human sound disturbs your mind? It is in these quiet moments when we can breath in healing and listen for words of wisdom in the clouds.”

    And yes, my husband and I revel in the quiet of the mountains, the rivers, the lakes, the wind flowing through the trees. As you said, silence is wonderful. Life is certainly different with social media reminding us at every turn of our head of the horrible events in the world. It’s good to be informed, but again, like you said, we need to find the balance and know when to allow silence.Thanks for sharing this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked my reflection. It’s all about balance. We need to be informed, but too much of that and we’re just overwhelmed and depressed. There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to clear your mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful essay — thank you. I seem to need more silence in my life than most people. Having my tea outdoors every morning is more than just a ritual, it’s a support to my sanity. Nothing to hear but birds, the wind in the trees, the sound of the creek, and sometimes, the patter of rain. Ahhh…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with the first comment, you just did. The older — ahem, more mature — I become, the more I relish in silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave says:

    Timely topic + words of wisdom = thank you. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Rather than reading or counting sheep, I find it’s best to simply think of nothing. In other words, create silence in the brain. It’s very hard to do – shutting out all thought – but it seems the best approach to resuming calm and z-z-z’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d say you had exactly the right words today. Thank you for a thought-provoking and beautifully written post, Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Silence is rejuvenating… Thanks for this thoughtful post and perspective, Andrew!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tried once to hear what was beyond all sound–block out all the noises (mentally) and let the sound of nothing wash over me. That’s when I discovered I had tinnitus. Not what I had hoped for.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wake up at 4 a.m. (sometimes earlier) to savor the quiet, journal, reflect, time in the scriptures and prayer. The quiet is why I embrace every January. It seems easier then.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This may be one of my favorite posts of yours, Andrew. I am quite a fan of silence. One thing I love to do is go to the ocean and just sit. I could stay there for hours. Just taking in the smells and sound of the waves. It grounds me and calms me. When living in Chicago, that was something I never could experience. The lake was always crowded with people. Getting to it was also complicated. Here in Nova Scotia, I can walk to the ocean and on many days, not come across even one car or human. Even on our public beach, if you head left instead of right, on most days you can walk for about five minutes and it is completely deserted. It is lovely and there are thousands of kilometers of coastline that is similar. I am so grateful. Your post is timely because the world seems to be spinning out of control. Reflecting inward is good. Thank you for reminding us.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. cindy knoke says:

    Human silence is sacred. Silence compels you to go inward დ

    Liked by 4 people

  13. HI Andrew, it is interesting that I should see this post form you today. I have been reflecting on how much noise pollution there is now that Covid has seemingly faded into insignificance and everything is going back to normal. I walk around my garden and there is a constant buzz of noise, cars, airplanes and even a helicopter. It is all very discordant and I notice it more now after the last two more peaceful years. The background noise in the office bothers me more now than it used to as well. Some days I have to listen to classical music on my phone to block it all out. Thanks for this post. I agree that silence is a wonderful thing [it also feels rare].

    Liked by 4 people

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