Is Silence Sacred?
A decade or two ago, whatever little time we use to have to ourselves, walking, driving, shopping, biking, gardening or any other such activity seems to have been replaced by the hurly-burly of cell-phones, speakerphones, texting and twittering. Experiencing silence has become remote, even counter culture. We have become a culture of din and distraction in which it has become increasingly hard to find time to be by ourselves. In doing so we have lost a precious gift.
Since time immemorial mystics and ascetics have experienced sublime in silence. In silence they discovered mystery that was greater than them. When they sat with themselves they paid attention to themselves. Similarly, when we sit by ourselves regularly we become aware of ourselves. We realize how important it is that we cultivate our own being and get to know our true selves. As our genuine selves when we are alone and fully alert, within and without, we are one with the universe, with God.
In order to enjoy silence we need not go away to live in a cave in the Himalayas, or somewhere in Sahara desert or to a rain forest retreat. We can experience solitude in our homes: watching sunset from a kitchen window, gazing at a sunrise from a hilltop, lying in a hot aromatic bathtub, feeding a baby, in the dead of the night when the young ones are asleep, or when they leave home. Such stolen moments of time calm our clamoring thoughts.
To sit in silence is hard work. But once it becomes a practice it is hard to stop. It is almost addictive because it’s pleasurable in itself. It clears mental clutter, strips down anxious thoughts and increases focus. Creativity emerges from the depths of silence. To sit in silence is to nourish our mental and physical well being and to usher repose.
Being solitary is not nothingness, isolation is. The daily practice of sitting alone in tranquil surroundings gets rid of inhibitions, gives one an ability to act spontaneously, physical sensations heighten and emotions sensitize. We see more clearly. We talk and act without pretence, with sincerity and honesty. Silence instills in us the ability to transcend painful aspects of our lives.
What exercise does to the body; sitting in silence does to the mind. It fine-tunes our thinking. Silence is the melody of heaven. That’s why silence is sacred.