January 12
One of the greatest
sounds of them all--and
to me it is a sound--is
utter, complete silence.

Andre Kostelanetz


Today's Meditation:

I love silence.  I've been in caves in which when I stand still, there's absolutely no sound at all other than my breathing to hear.  I've been in the middle of the desert where there are almost no sounds at all, especially when they heat becomes extremely oppressive.  I've been in closed-off rooms that allow no sounds in.  All of them, if I stop and pay attention to the power of the silence, are incredibly inspiring, lovely places to be.

It's sometimes amazing that so many people seem to be afraid of silence.  What is there to be afraid of, though, from the lack of sound?  Often, we're taught that silence between people is somehow awkward, or that silence is the absence of productivity or activity, and should therefore be avoided.  We also have people teaching us that silence is lonely, for we usually find it when we're alone.

I used to always have music playing.  I love music almost as much as I love silence, and I would never have silent times because I wanted to listen to music.  Over the years I haven't developed a disdain for music, but I have developed much more respect for silence, and I often forego the pleasure of hearing music in favor of the pleasure of hearing nothing.  And when I hear nothing, I'm not forced to respond to anything--I can truly and fully relax myself and enjoy my surroundings.

Most people will tell you that silence is golden, but I would bet that most people haven't much silence in their worlds at all.  Silence these days must be sought, and when we find it, it must be cherished.  It can be neglected and unsought-after, or it can be one of our greatest assets in our lives.  We must decide what we want it to be, and then let it give us what it will.

Questions to consider:

Why is silence not valued very strongly in contemporary cultures?

What are some of the benefits of silence in your life?  How can you bring those benefits about?

With whom are you able to share silences?  Is this important to be able to do in a deep relationship? 

For further thought:

Nothing has changed the nature of people so much as
the loss of silence.  The invention of printing, technics,
compulsory education--nothing has so altered us as this
lack of relationship to silence, this fact that silence is no
longer taken for granted, as something as natural as the sky
above or the air we breathe.  We who have lost silence have
not merely lost one human quality but our whole structure
has been changed thereby.

Max Picard 


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