A friend recently wrote to me the following:
I feel in certain situations, silence is a very powerful medium of communication.
Here are my thoughts:
Silence is one of the most profound experiences one can have.
Silence as a means to communicate is normally used negatively -to give someone a “silent treatment”. That is probably the only way we use it; to convey our displeasure, anger, disagreement or disgust. We use it to emotionally torture people who care for us. It is a deadly weapon if you wish to hurt someone.
But silence is not a weapon. It is profound. It is a pregnancy which gives birth to all that is sacred. One can’t get a glimpse of “peace” unless one can be truly silent. One can’t truly experience intimacy unless there is silence. Love flows from one heart to another only when the lovers are silent – sitting silently together, watching the waves arise, rush towards the shore and then collapse, listening to the sounds of gushing water, chirping of birds, watching the sun setting or rising, getting mesmerised by something picturesque in the moonlight, listening to the heartbeats of your beloved, and so on. In such cases, silence becomes a very powerful communication of love between two hearts.
One can also be alone, and be silent; the experience wouldn’t be any less profound. Then the love flows in from the existence itself.
But we must first understand what silence is. It is not simply noiselessness, or an absence of sound. It is not not saying anything. It is much deeper than that. It is not something which depends on the external factors or yourself. It is ubiquitous; it is there already, within you and without. You simply have to tune in to it. And you can tune in to it even in the market place with all the rustle and bustle around you.
You are able to connect to silence when you are not thinking anything, when you are not imagining or remembering things, when you are not under the influence of some emotion, when you are not rushing to meed some deadline, when you just are, when you are one with your surroundings, when you are centered in this very moment, when you are open and receptive to all the stimuli to all of your senses. It gives rise to a feeling of utter contentment. You don’t want to move. You don’t want to say or do something; you just soak in everything that happens around you.
It does help a great deal if you can be with someone who has experienced silence, who can tune in to it. It kind of rubs on to you if you are with someone who is able to be silent. Once you get the taste yourself, you can be silent alone. Then loneliness wouldn’t torment you, and the compulsion of structuring your time in to mindless activities or rituals would no longer obsess you. And once you get the knack of tuning in to it, you wouldn’t want to let it go. It would keep pulling you towards itself.
Soft and melodious music can help you too, if you are able to listen to it properly with total attention which is passive and effortless. Beautiful landscape, and enchanting natural phenomena can help too if you can forget everything else and watch them with awareness, not with an aim to remember or analyze them but just soaking them in with an absence of comments from your mind as to how beautiful or otherwise they are.
I am reminded of a beautiful song I first heard while watching “Notting Hill”. If you haven’t listened to this song, you should. Here are the lyrics of the song sung by Ronan Keating; there is also a slightly different version by Alison Krauss:
It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing
The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me wherever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Try as I may I could never define
What’s being said between your heart and mine

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