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Friday, May 17, 2013

An Elusive Silence

I find it difficult to find moments of complete silence in today's wold. I remember that as a child, I could find a place at home or when I'm outside when there's almost complete silence, interrupted by the pleasant song of birds and possibly the sounds of crickets in the summer months.

I don't want to sound too nostalgic here. But, the fact that as I grow in my Buddhist practice of meditation, the more I've come to appreciate the value of stillness and silence. Unfortunately, if the silence I am seeking depended on the environment or the people around me, then returning to a past where there were times when the world seems to rest and simply become silent for just a few hours.

Today,, we are literally bombarded by a cacophony of noises, music that is sometimes too loud to bear, the sounds emanating from our mobile phones and email programmes informing us that we received a request of some kind, or a reply and so on. Requests that distract our attention from the world around us. Tools that are meant to enhance our communication but which, at times, isolate us from those who are around us.

I wonder if my own need to keep in touch with the virtual world is but an escape from facing the immediate world. Or, if this as sometimes an attempt to escape from a silence that might draw my attention to parts of who I am that I rather not explore. Parts of me that I would rather be unaware of. Painful or disturbing memories of a past that I wanted to forget. But, then what does this say about me?

If we are seeking more a life where we need to be connected with the world from the moment we wake up to the moment we are getting to sleep, what does this say about us?

The reality is that, unless we can travel to a remote part of the world where technology hasn't caught up, the reality of those who are living today in most parts of the minority world and small parts of the majority world, remains one where silence is a rarity or an impossibility. However, amidst this noisy world we have created, I still find time when I can find a silence.

It's not a silence where's there's no sound such as that found in the vacuum of space. It's the silence I find as I become aware of my breathing. As I stop moving and just rest my body and let my thoughts pass by. It's a silence where I know that I have a time when I only need to listen to the world around me and not necessarily react or respond. It's simply stopping and noticing the sounds around me, the vision I still have and be aware of the sensations of my body.

This is the silence that I may aspire to. For, even if we use our mind and body on a daily basis, we often take all this for granted. That is, of course, until we become ill or are in pain.

It is recognising the uniqueness of our present experience that we can actually enjoy life and discover that silence that provides us with the space to be who we truly are!

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