Is . . . ?
Not the solid wall we often imagine it to be. The one we fear brushing up against.
It’s not the sort of stoic, finite, dead space of a concrete block we try so deftly to avoid slamming into.
Silence, instead, is a living thing.
“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”
– Chaim Potok, The Chosen
It is not static or absolute or final.
Silence is organic; it seeks. It connects.
Silence has fibers and fingers and nerve endings. To be held by silence can be an extremely, powerfully intimate experience.
In a world so devoid of intimate touch, it can also be overwhelming.
For so many of us, to be touched in love can actually be a frightening thing, a beautiful, vulnerable disarming thing. Maybe that’s why we are so quick to try and stub out the silence, suffocate it, kill it off with the relentless empty words and the media feeds and the rush and the noise.
Because we don’t understand silence we fear him, and because we fear him we don’t allow space for all he has to teach us. We don’t want to get too close.
“We live in an age of incessancy, under the banner of the already heard and forgotten.”
– George Prochnik, In Pursuit of Silence
We think we know the sound of silence and what his singular message is – and we don’t have time to hear it – so we don’t let him nestle in. It takes a different kind of skill or maybe better said it takes an ancient, deeply-embedded-but-long-forgotten kind of knowing, to engage with silence and be able to understand his many messages.
There is, after all, the silence of reverence.
The silence of everything we don’t know how to say.
The silence of awe.
The silence of holding and of letting go.
The silence of resistance.
The silence of untruth.
The silence of the Only Truth.
The silence of uncertainty.
The silence of fear. Of patience. Of impatience.
Of still learning. Of knowing.
Of not there yet.
The silence of almost.
The silence of done.
Silence speaks, it moves, it is a language and a sense all its own. It has to be practiced and learned to be deeply understood.
It’s so tempting to reach for the noise of this world as a distraction or a mask or an addiction or an avoidance of ourselves. As a way to avoid that cold, hard brick wall we imagine silence to be.
There is sacred wisdom, though, in not just being quiet but being with the quiet. Opening ourselves to a relationship with silence allows us to understand, intuitively understand, all the things that cannot be said or exchanged with noise.
And there are so many, many of these things.
If we could humble ourselves and bow into his touch, we’d stop killing silence and let ourselves be held by him.
~ ~ ~
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