Monday, May 30, 2005

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

How often do we allow ourselves to sit quietly in total and complete silence? I'm not even talking about meditation yet, just plain and simple silence where only nature's ambient sound can be heard--the distant bark of a dog, the hum of night insects, the gentle rustle of leaves stirred by the wind or the murmur of waves lapping on the shore.

Silence is so important. We must be able to reserve at least a couple of minutes a day to listen to the "sound of silence". When the mind is emptied of all artificial or man-made sounds, it unfurls itself like a flower. It is no longer reacting to our thoughts and actions anymore; it is like a sponge returning to its original shape, after being stressed by all sorts of stimuli from the external world.

Natural ambient sound does not provoke a reaction from the mind and hence can only induce relaxation. When we talk to people, we react to the words we hear. We are constantly judging: right or wrong, agree or disagree. The mind cannot assume its original form that way--it is always under various different stresses and strains.

Imagine, if we are constantly living in a noisy environment full of artificial sounds from the TV, radio, stereo system or the city traffic, we are not allowing our mind to return to its original state. Our mind becomes "warped" and we "forget" the true nature of the mind.

Certain types of man-made music like Baroque music and keroncong, does induce a relaxed state of mind but still nothing beats pure silence. Music, no matter how relaxing it can be, sometimes evoke strong emotions. When emotions arise in the body and mind, we are no longer relaxed. We are reacting.

Many of us like to switch on the TV or radio the moment we sense a bit of silence in our environment. For some reason, modern people like us are too used to being distracted by external noise that we immediately feel so uncomfortable and even lonely when surrounded by the most natural sound of all: silence.

Wisdom only arises in moments of silence because only when there's no external sound, the mind begins to resolve the residual reactions that's left in the mind. Once these actions and reactions find its equilibrium point, an insight is gained--something which I refer to as a "Tetris moment".

Embrace silence. Do not fear it. Silence is our friend. Silence is the greatest teacher of all.

No comments: