Sunday, March 6, 2011

where have you experienced deep silence?

This can be a profound question. One woman at a session I ran last year at a Multi Faith Conference on the subject of 'Silence in your Faith or Tradition', responded by telling the group about being in a Swedish forest in the snow. As a European I resonated with that picture.

When in a noisy and stressful sound scape it may be possible for us to at least encounter an inner silence by revisiting places of stillness, silence and peace in our memory. Sound may be part of those memories, wind, birdsong, the sound of water but for most of us those sounds add to the silence rather than detract from silence.

I welcome visitors to this blog sharing their special silent places.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Nicholas. Thank you for your welcome.
    I have an experience of silence (and – paradoxically – stillness) when I ride my bike. It has been a while since I’ve done this, since I’m traveling at the moment. But I find when I ride a bike my thoughts disappear, as I am caught up in navigating and maneuvering my way through a landscape, or cityscape, as it may be. Like you, I sometimes have the sensation that the wind is blowing right through me. And the rush – the movement – gives me quite literally the feeling of just passing through. I am but one feature in the scenery, and a fleeting one at that.

    Whilst this is movement, I have more a sense of gliding along through it all, as it is the wheels of my bicycle that make contact with the earth; in a way I myself am stationary whilst being transported, and there is a stillness in my mind-body; only my legs are engaged in the fluid and seemingly endless motion of peddling. The physical exertion draws me into my body, and my mind is free to simply contemplate the world I am passing through at this very particular pace, detached, and (I find) inevitably content.

    For me, silence and stillness hold profound power in relation to the usual cacophony and (co)mmotion that is one great demand of the modern world. Cycling is a beautifully balancing activity for the way it .combines stillness and motion. – And also for the way it reveals the silent will and work of our bodies that so faithfully carry us through the world.

    Another form of perfect silence for me is the silence of the flower, which holds its own. I like to imagine what it might be like to be a flower, taut and upright in the air from dawn to dusk, doing nothing but exuding beauty and perfume. They are such miraculous gifts. And lately I have found that even when I am quite literally running down the street to catch a train, or swept up in some other senselessly busy affair, on impulse I can’t help but plunge my nose toward some beautiful, unsuspecting rose in someone’s front garden. For one small but full moment, at least, all my attention is arrested by the fragile beauty of the flower, its silence as its tangible as its scent.