Last week’s post evoked a thought-provoking response from a dear friend. She spoke of her craving for less noise, for more silence in her life, the better to reflect upon memories and events. Even the uncomfortable ones.
For me it’s not the absence of sound, but rather the kinds of sound which allow for re connection, for quiet contemplation. Sounds like those in nature, like gentle rain, or perhaps my favourite music, or the sounds of a fire crackling in the grate. This last example is for my Northern Hemisphere friends because the last thing I want at present is more heat. But I digress.
You’ll notice I make a distinction between noise and sound. The first, something to be endured, the second, to be enjoyed and valued. So silence for me isn’t the absence of sound. It’s respite from the pandemonium of our modern lives, ‘the noisy tumult, uproar, chaotic din’ derived from two Greek words: pan meaning all and demonium alluding to demons. How apt.
In my recent travels to Far North Queensland, we visited Cedar Creek Falls, which at the time of our visit were less fall and more trickle. But the effect was no less.
While the family swam and wallowed in the deep pool beneath the waterfall, I sat with my feet in the shallows and surrendered to the sensory wash. I think the Japanese call it ‘forest bathing’.
The tall cliffs and surrounding bush created an enclosed sanctuary-like effect. We could have been the only human beings on earth. The air was close with the hum of insects, the background of murmuring water and quiet talking was amplified and made intimate by the circling embrace of cliffs. I closed my eyes and tried to distinguish each of the sounds, becoming aware of the caress of warm air across my skin, the cool water over my feet, the rustle of leaves above my head.
These are the sounds of silence for me. A spiritual replenishing
A man once told Buddha
“I want happiness.”
“First remove the ‘I’; that’s ego.
Then remove the ‘want’; that’s desire
And now all you’re left with is Happiness.”