Our days are filled with every kind of sound that we literally can’t hear ourselves think. There is too much background noise for our thoughts to emerge. For some, silence is a welcomed antidote providing a sanctuary of relaxation and peace. For others, silence is feared, viewed as the calm before the storm; a precursor to some unfortunate state. Being alone with themselves, forced to face their own thoughts, leaves them agitated and restless. Silence, however, is a helpful tool in attaining a sense of clarity.
A quiet atmosphere is oftentimes provided in the early hours of the morning or the late hours of night. It is a time when all is still and a silence permeates the streets and suburbs. Without the invasive noise created by modern life, we glimpse the world closest to its original state. No manufactured sounds but the natural murmurings of the animals and earth around us. It is in this state of silence we glimpse our spirit and things become clearer.
Meditation is a method used by many to encourage the state of silence. Some struggle with this as their encroaching thoughts find them grasping at peace, instead of allowing it to come to them. They get sucked into an inner dialogue with their minds and start thinking, thinking, thinking.
Silence is scary to some. For example, meditation aside, there are people who need the television switched on, even when they aren’t watching it, just for company and some background noise. In many ways, it takes the edge off and they’re not alone with their thoughts. The silence is too loud for them.
There is another type of silence that some are fearful of and that’s the silence in the air existing between friends or loved ones. In a sense, the silence is loaded with unsaid words, it’s charged with an awkward, unsettling energy. Silence has a dual nature, being confronting and comforting at different times. It reveals things, yet is covered up by the incessant noise we create, but it is always there, no matter what.
Often we search for ways in which to fill the awkward silences in our day. For some, being alone with just ourselves as company is just as daunting as being in a room full of strangers.
Silence promotes clarity and can give us direction. The experience of sitting in contemplation, emptying the mind of thoughts, can proffer insight and answers we were not aware of before. It is then up to us whether we choose to listen or ignore. In order to hear something new, we have to turn the volume down on something else; you can’t hear the cat scratching at the door if you are locked in a room with deafening music.
Silence helps us find our centre and in doing so, aids our concentration. Almost like being in a classroom full of talking students, when silence pervades the space we are able to pay close attention to things we constantly take for granted. Inspiration, creativity, peace, restfulness, and serenity are all by products of the state of silence.
The beauty of silence is available to us whenever we need to access it. Although usually covered up by noise, it is always there. By sitting in silence and learning to regularly meditate or contemplate, we can open the door to great possibilities in life and move towards them unencumbered by the chaos created by unnecessary noise.