Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power of Silence

There is a verse that comes down to us from Mikao Ushi, the creator of Reiki, the belief in healing energy.

Just for Today…

Be thankful for all blessings
Do not be anxious or worry about anything
Treat all living things with respect.
Be kind.

Given the frenetic world we live in, we might add, 
just for today, I will spend some time in silence.

Silence may not come easy.  There is little in our restless world to support being alone in a quiet place.  Some homes have the television on constantly a way of escaping silence.
We are familiar with the conflicting complaints, “It’s just too quiet,” and “Oh for some peace and quiet.”

Noise impacts us.  It affects our nerves, as many harried mothers can attest.  But beyond the home, street sounds in the form of boom boxes and construction drills have negative health effects on our nerves and even hypertension.  Exposure to the loud sounds of video games and music can affect hearing.  One survey showed that children between the ages of 6 and 19 evidence hearing problems as a result.

Can one deliberately create silence?  It may mean turning off the “talking heads” on television, no radio or telephone calls.  Imagine the discipline it would take to put off that first cup of coffee or refrain from CNN for the first 12 minutes of our day.  Janet Luhrs, pioneer of the Simplicity Movement suggests this in her book Simplicity Living Guide and Simple Loving.  The joy of emptying the mind has relaxed people from time immemorial.  No talk or noise to disturb our being alone without fear of a soundless few minutes.  You might receive answers to important questions or ideas for a project just by being in a listening mode. 

If possible, take a walk in the park attuned only to natural sounds.  The natural world is a wonderful place to experience a silence where we don’t analyze, remember, plan.  Acoustic Ecologist, Gordon Hempton, suggests that silence is an endangered species.  He defines real quiet as presence, not an absence of sound but an absence of noise.  He is author of One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet.

From time to time it can be so sweet to hold oneself in a lone cocoon or stand with arms, ears and heart alert to the sounds of silence.

Image: WicketNox (Cory Brooke) on DeviantArt

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