Sound of Silence

My life is very noisy. What about you?

Even in the stillness of a recent evening on the porch, you can hear distant traffic; the rumble of a train or jet, the hum of heat pumps. Even natural sounds, like crickets and birds, rustling leaves, dropping acorns.

I’m a little more aware of silence lately, because the ipod player for my car broke. It is so interesting how you get in the habitual pattern of getting into the car, and immediately turning on some noise; music, radio chatter, an educational cd, whatever.

It has been interesting to become aware of the relative silence in the car, and how soothing it can be.

Oh, yes, there is noise. Sometimes the thump-thump-thump from the car behind me can literally be felt before it can be heard. The car itself makes noise, the traffic, there are lots of sounds. But yet, there is still a peaceful stillness that comes from not contributing to the cacophony.

Reminds me of this past Winter, going to a friend’s house for tea. It had recently snowed (a LOT), and the ground was well covered with the white stuff. We pulled up in front of her home to see a whole group of children sledding. Without even opening the car door, you could hear music blasting. Either a child or a parent had deemed it necessary to play music on the front porch of the home where they were sledding, and wow, it was loud.

And it was sad. I have such lovely memories of the sweet crunch of boots upon fresh snow. The deep hush that envelops the world when layers of icy flakes dampen down the harsh sounds of winter. The sound of snow pants swishing against each other. Children playing, laughing, the awareness of the sound of breath amplified by the visible exhalation.

I have such lovely memories of those sounds and experiences; these kids, I’m thinking that when it snows and they are adults, their memories will conjure up some Lady Gaga song.

I wonder, what does silence really sound like?

Even in meditation, with the senses turned inward, the outer world (hopefully!) falling away, sinking into the rhythm of your breath, there are sounds. My Guru calls it the “thundering silence.” I’ve gotten glimpses of it, but have yet to be able to rest for extended periods in that deepening stillness. It is a practice, I remind myself.

If this weekend you can carve out a few moments for yourself, try to spend them in silence.

Enjoy it while you can. The leaf blowers are coming.



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