Silence is a state to be revisited again and again. Regularly, not periodically, but daily and with our full presence. This holds true whether we’re entering silence for sitting meditation, or dipping into delicious pockets of it throughout the day. It’s not like we can be profoundly silent once and not dip in it ever again. It’s not like we can go to a silent retreat once, then just discard it. Silence is a way of being, an orientation, an anchor. We desperately need Silence.
We’ve been like this ourselves and know others who are: Uncomfortable in silence, having a constant need to yammer because there’s a void inside. The truth is what feels like a void can be transformed into true emptiness. Emptiness is misunderstood as being “empty” whereas in fact it is full for it is Presence. And Presence is Silent yet creates All.
After I wrote the last piece on silence, two gems came.
No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees. These pages seek nothing more than to echo the silence and peace that is “heard” when the rain wanders freely among the hills and forests. But what can the wind say when there is no hearer? There is then a deeper silence: the silence in which the Hearer is No-Hearer. That deeper silence must be heard before one can speak truly of solitude.
— Thomas Merton
We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see their own images and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even a fiercer life because of our silence.
— William Butler Yeats
Last time I suggested that you simply stop. Let your body breathe for you and put your whole awareness on it. Just notice the breath moving. That’s all.
Whatever stillness and silence this very simple practice helps you enter, take the memory of it, the feel of it, the seed of it and let it be the backdrop to the next encounter you have with another person.
And go to nature, frequently. To help you, here’s a photo I took ten minutes from where I live in an urban area. Silence can always be found.
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