Sweet Silence

flower recrop

I am constantly amazed at how the treasure of silence and deep quiet are so completely forgotten or deliberately ignored in today’s busy world. Of course, to be completely unconscious of their immense value is understandable: After all, as Gurujieff said, “Most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic, waking sleep.” Living unconsciously, we don’t even know about silence. So, when a rare moment of silence occurs, instead of letting it nourish us, we often feel uncomfortable and reach for the dial on whatever noise creating machine we have handy. However, being unaccustomed to silence is no reason to run away from it. Instead, we might want to consider bringing more moments of silence into our life.

I live in the country. Recently, I took a trip to visit relatives in Florida. From the very beginning of my trip until the very end, there was constant noise: the noise of cars and jets and, sirens and machinery. There was music in almost every store, and what we call “thumper cars” cruising the avenues contesting for the deepest bass and loudest allowable volume. In all honesty, while I sometimes noticed something too loud, I didn’t notice the lack of silence. Driving up the highway to the mountains where we live there was still the noise of the loud diesel in my car. It was not until we finally arrived home and stepped out of the car that I remembered the beauty of quiet. Suddenly, there was just the sound of a soft breeze, crickets, night insects and a light rain on the awning over the porch. It was incredibly refreshing. Instead of unpacking right away, we sat on the porch for an hour just soaking in the peace.

What I find interesting about this experience is how I completely forgot about quiet as I voyaged. I discovered how easy it is, when lost in the noise, to forget the beauty and deep refreshment of silence. Because constant noise is now the environment in which most of us live, we have lost touch with the importance of quiet and undisturbed reflection. When we let ourselves fall into it, silence is the sacred space for discovery. All the great saints and mystics voyaged into the wilderness for this reason. It is in silence that we experience the mystery and depth of life. It is also the foil for the noisy world, reminding us of a greater beauty and spirit. This is why it is important to to make an agreement with ourselves that we will find a place or moment of silence as often as we can.

Despite the ubiquitous noise and the constant throb and bang of our world culture, there are still pockets of silence everywhere. It might be a time of day or a place that sound finds hard to enter. Look for it and go there often. Make it your sacred getaway.


Suddenly it is silent
Beyond my immediate discomfort
something deep stirs
and beckons

I flee
nothing changes
quiet despair
continuing boredom

I wait
the deep world opens
sweet drink from
the sacred chalice

peace at last
I discover love again


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