The Gift Of Silence
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
In silence we can hear our own thoughts. Perhaps more beautiful we can hear the world without the crowded stream of our thoughts. Visiting silence can be an adventure, a pilgrimage, a life changing journey into peace and quiet. We can be quite busy and loud in our attempts to make a more peaceful world. Maybe the peace we seek is not so complicated. Maybe the quiet we want can begin with turning down the noise we routinely live with. Real peace and quiet can be no further then spending some time in silence.
Silence is more then a break from the traffic of daily life.The stillness is food for our nerves. As we rest in quiet’s gentle blanket we recover from daily stress and much more. We begin the recovery from our loss of self. In all the noise we live with, we contract. We tighten up. We lose our openness and joy. In silence, we are less on survival mode and more free to smile. Despite what many people think, silence is good company.Our separateness decreases. We feel more connected. In peace and quiet we are less alone. As we let go into the great silence, we find ourselves part of something greater. The sounds of the wind, a burning fire, rain and snow all make us feel a part of something more. With less thought, our senses become brighter. Smells, tastes, sights, and of course sounds grow stronger in silence. Our emotions, memory, and imagination are awakened. Many writers and artists begin their work by beginning in a period of silence.
Turning off our machines,unplugging from our gadgets is just the beginning of coming into silence. Silence is taking a step out of our personal story. We can breathe. Earth, planets, and stars come closer. We are reminded of a larger perspective. Those who pass through the door into much silence find themselves less interested in what others are doing or what they should be doing. Having more or less of everything is not so important. The thousand touches of silence around and within raise our curiosity, heighten our awareness, expand our being.
Silence speaks for the part of life that is beyond words, beyond description. Sitting for sometime in its sanctuary and we find a place within us that is centered, whole, a place of trust. A walk in silence with a friend or partner can do wonders in joining us together, fresh and renewed. We are much more then our complicated lives and personalities. Silence reminds us of the bonds between friends and family, the golden bonds of everything shared. We are much more then what we do together. We are the culmination of a life of activities shared and shared silence.
When we give ourselves to silence, we find an intimacy and shelter. Many people find silence as a refuge. The quiet is their private world. Here they live underneath the daily noise. The simplicity of grace visits. The silence is always new, different, inviting.There is a heart beating that is the heart of the trees, rivers, mountains, life all around and within. Silence can pick us up and carry us to incredible destinations if we allow it. And silence can be like a safe harbor where we drop anchor down underneath our desires and challenges to a place of unequaled being and presence.
It's normal for our personality to get restless in silence looking for something to do. We find our mind wandering off onto old trails of thought and feelings that habitually grab our attention. But if we try to be present,if we actively offer ourselves to silence’s touches,there is a new trail for us to explore. If we can just be and let the quiet lead, our busy mind can find a pure spot, a quiet place. Silence is all about remembering the heart including the heart of life. Mystics through out history have enjoyed the thread of silence leading them to a golden tapestry sitting in an inner temple of vast understanding and light. There is a mystic in each of us that hungers for some of this awe. Nothing else satisfies as much as these moments when we come to silence and dwell for a while.
With silence, life’s opportunities are seen differently. Our priorities begin to change. What is important and not so pressing become clearer. The heart in stillness calls us. I imagine stores and shopping centers offering gifts of silence wrapped in bright colors and boxes of all sizes. Each box includes instructions how to open and enjoy. Silence is for people of all ages, all incomes, every circumstance in life. What should be the price for these gifts of silence? This is a good question. How much is peace and quiet worth to us? Is silence just another gift to open, briefly hold before going onto something else? Or is the great quiet something to behold and sit with for a long time? Whether for body or soul, silence is patient, waiting, ready,very giving this time of year.
Silent Stay retreats invites all into the gift of silence for the Holidays and into the New Year.