We fill our lives with noise, from television to radio to stereo and compact disc. Our culture says noise is necessary. We prefer noise because it dulls our innate loneliness. We are uncomfortable with silence. Yet only by cultivating silence daily do we begin to accept its many gifts.The meditative process helps us accept and embrace silence. We resist silence because our thoughts overwhelm us but, with the meditative process, we know what to do with thoughts: we notice them, accept them without judgment, let them go and then bring the mind back to our meditative support (if we're in formal meditation) or to whatever we're doing in the present moment. Being able to let go of thoughts simply and gently enables us to make friends with silence.
We need silence to express our true selves. Silence is countercultural and more; it leads us beyond culture, beyond illusion, beyond word, to the truth of peace. In silence, we can no longer deny our basic humanity, our powerlessness, our helplessness, Silence unveils our vulnerable selves. As the distractions of the culture and our own mind leave us, we feel an approaching peace.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Just yesterday I received as a gift the book Living Peace by the Jesuit priest John Dear. Here's a passage about the importance of silence: