A light fog had enveloped the neighborhood. There were cones of bluish light beneath the LED streetlights along the street. Within this vapor, every sound was muffled. There is a certain quality of silence with foggy air. When the fog is coupled with the quiet already present in the very early hours of a wintry December morning, I feel thankful and happy.
I return to the interior of my house. The full crispness of hearing immediately returns. The HVAC system’s fan is whooshing warm air through ducts. The door latch clicks as I close the door behind me. It’s then that I notice the ringing tinnitus has returned to my brain.
I pour a cup of freshly brewed morning coffee. I take a sip while the ringing in the ears fades. My symptoms of tinnitus seem to have a psychosomatic cause. Although I suspect this quirk may be true, the alleviation of ear ringing has become a good way to rationalize my enjoyment of coffee.
Silence has several meanings. It may be the calm lack of sound during a foggy early morning. Verbal silence is what we do when engaged in mindful communication with a cohort. Passive silence happens despite knowing we should speak out about injustice–our silence only encourages further oppression. At other times, silence is active; because sometimes we don’t have anything useful to contribute to the conversation. Our silence says more than words.
An old friend, Marty, once said something about the skill of mastering the art of timing. It is sometimes wise to remain quiet and just let somebody rudely collide with her own destiny. Later, you can gently return to help her pick up the pieces if she invites your aid and a shoulder to cry on.
Perhaps one of the most effective attacks of an adversary is to create plenty of dissonant confusion. His goal is confusion, disinformation, distraction, and continuous talking. Amid such noise and confusion, there is little or no room for us to rationally think. It is only with strong determination can we find the mental silence in order to calmly contemplate scenarios. When we distance ourselves from the raucous blather of the seditious adversary, we rediscover silence and meditation.
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.”–sculptor, painter, and poet, Hans Peter Wilhelm Arp
The United States is a noisy place, even in the wilderness the rattling of all terrain vehicles intrudes. Wherever we seek peace and quiet, the muted rumble of high-flying aircraft can be heard. We Americans often seek silence by switching on music to mask the physical and mental noise we want to avoid. I often wish to find a place that is more associated with restraint, privacy, and quietude. Such societies are less intrusive and more thoughtful.
From time to time, on a regular basis, it’s helpful and wise to become aware of the silence within ourselves. Such silence is refreshing to the mind and spirit. When the cravings for distractions and escape diminish, we grow up a little more.
When the time spent sitting quietly and the mental chatter leaves the mind alone for awhile, the quietude is food for the spirit. Complete fulfillment of life is a personal matter. To me, the most rewarding way of life includes a healthy share of mindful silence.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from Leonardo da Vinci. “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”