The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

“Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for - sounds that will make him

overjoyed and alive or quiet and calm. One of the greatest sounds of them all - and to me it is

a sound - is utter, complete silence”.

If ever there was a contradiction in terms, it is found in the phrase „sound of silence‟. And

yet, if you ask anyone who has been practicing meditation for some time they will tell you

that it‟s as if, in silence, there is a kind of sound. The silence that they refer to is of course

the silence „within‟ the self, and the sound is more like an awareness, a feeling, of the

sweetness and power of one‟s own being. By many accounts the „sound of silence‟ can have

the effect of altering ones perceptions and perspectives so profoundly that life and living are

never quite the same again. When the self resides in the silence of just being, where all

„doing‟, including thinking, has temporarily ceased, there is a profound sense of the

unlimitedness of the self and it‟s from there that everything else appears as it really is; small,

limited and almost insignificant.

Someone once said: ”Silence is the secret to sanity”

Central to almost every „spiritual/wisdom path‟ is the understanding that we are spirit not

form and that the heart of our being is silent and still. If it wasn‟t then our consciousness

would be in almost constant chaos. It is the still and silent core of our being that provides our

strength, stability and the ultimate sense of security, much like the invisible foundations of a

building ensures the building stands solidly and stably on the ground. Just as we return at the

end of every day to rest and refresh our energies, the central stillness and silence of our being

is our spiritual home where we can and do rest, refresh and reinvigorate our spiritual energy.

However while rejuvenation and refreshment of our body may require hours of rest and

relaxation, the re-empowerment of our being, which is beyond time, can take as little as a few

seconds or a few minutes. If we don‟t do it consciously, if we don‟t empty our awareness of

all that would capture and drain our energy, then we will do it unconsciously in our sleep.

Most of the time the vast majority of us are not aware of this inner state or condition of

stillness/silence as we are all now well practiced in seeking, creating and living in a

constantly distracted state. We habitually fill our awareness with the noise of thoughts,

emotions, experiences and desires. This „noisiness‟ appears to be coming from „out there‟ in

the world around us but it‟s not! It comes from what we do inside with the world that we

allow and bring into our awareness. This, combined with the noise of our senses, our sensual

input, completely drowns our awareness of our still and silent self, thereby diminishing if not

destroying our capacity to feel truly stable and secure. This is why we often crave inner

peace but because of the myth of „outside in‟ we learn to seek it in the place where it can

never be found.

The practice of „being in silence‟, of consciously emptying our awareness of all forms of

noise, is essentially the practice of meditation. Meditation is the „way into‟ silence. Being

silent is the foundation of mastering our mind, healing our heart and accessing our


A Silent Mind-Self-talk is the term that is often used to describe what can be the constant

mental noise of all the inner conversations that we have in our heads with ourselves and with

others. The root cause is our forgetfulness of who we really are. We have learned to create

many identities based on what we do, where we live, who we are with, where we work etc.

The energizing of these multiple identities is what generates many „thought forms‟.

Sometimes it seems like we have a crowd in our head all complaining, judging or projecting

one minute, then accusing, worrying, hoping or regretting the next! A silent self is someone

who has realised these conversations are not only a waste of time and energy but are also

based on an illusory sense of self. They have nothing to do with the authentic self which is

simply the „I‟ that says „I am‟.

It‟s not difficult to calm your mind and move into a quieter state. Sit in a quiet place and

practice observing your thoughts. Allow your thoughts to come and go, and as they do notice

that „you‟ are the observer, the one who doesn‟t go anywhere! Practice NOT „hooking on to‟

thoughts and allowing them to expand and carry you away. If you do get on a „train of

thought‟ as soon as you „notice‟ that you have, come back to your observer

position/awareness. Then watch for the space between your thoughts. It‟s small at first but

gradually it will expand. In that space is the silent power of your being.

A Silent HeartWhen the self knows itself as „I am‟ (which is „no thing‟) it also comes to

know „what‟ I am. You cease to crave and search outside for love in the form of the

attention, acceptance and approval of others as you realise love IS what „I am‟. Love IS the

heart that „I am‟. With this awareness the heart returns to its natural state which is radiant

and giving of itself. As it does it naturally becomes quiet. The noise of desire and

attachment subsides, all emotional upheaval dissolves and the heart, the self, then naturally

and silently shares itself with whoever is present regardless of whatever is happening.

It‟s not difficult to restore the power of a silent heart, which is essentially the self. Sit quietly

and watch your feelings. Let your feelings rise and fall, as they do. Then consciously invoke

your peace. Consciously choose to be at peace, to feel peaceful. Allow any other distracting

thoughts and feelings to pass, as they do. Return to choosing to „feel‟ peaceful. Practice with

immense patience! Notice that when your heart, when you, are at peace, there is a subtle

pulse. This is the intention and inclination to give, to share, to connect. This is the pulse of

your spiritual heart, of you. This is the pulse of love.

A Silent Conscience is according to Mahatma Gandhi “In the attitude of silence the soul finds

the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal

clarity. Our life is a long and difficult quest after Truth”.

Most spiritual wisdom/philosophy also acknowledges that the deepest resource of the self, of

the spirit that we are, is an innate awareness of truth. Sometimes referred to as „conscience‟,

it is the quiet voice that speaks to us from deep within our being as it offers guidance as to

how we should live our life. Only when the mind is calm and the heart is at peace are we

able to hear this voice and allow its gentle guidance to shape our thoughts and decisions.

It‟s not difficult to consult your conscience, your inner tutor, your intuition. Sit quietly and

calm the mind, allow your peace to fill your heart and place a question before your

conscience, before your innate wisdom. And then let go and listen for a response. Once

again persistent patience is required, practice is essential. There will be a response, often

when you have stopped wanting it and when you least expect it!

It‟s hard to place a value on being silent and still as that‟s the one thing you cannot do when

you are in that state! In theory it can sound like an avoidance or an emptiness or simply just a

nice idea. But in practice it is the doorway to our truth, it is a window onto our wisdom and it

is a state in which we can know how infinite, unlimited and powerful we each are