Silence is golden, so they say. It can undoubtedly have a certain shimmer to it. There is this glorious little book called ‘The Quiet Book’, which shows lots of different kinds of quiet. ‘Right before you yell ‘Surprise’ quiet’, or ‘Thinking of a reason you were drawing on the wall, quiet’. Quiet can feel very different depending on what has just happened, or what is about to be. There is the quiet after an argument, and there is the quiet before the redemptive phrase.
Truth be told my house is not often very quiet. Outside, on a walk though, it really is. There is a sort of stillness in the air that is somehow less frantic, less frenetic, like something has lifted and given us a bit more room. A whole layer of spaciousness has been opened up we didn’t even know was there. Of course sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I fill it completely, other times I sense it’s ethereal glow, illuminating and amplifying all that beauty.
Your home may be quieter. You may have enough windows of quiet time in your day to offer one to a prolonged time of intentional silence or meditation. If so, then I say hooray and well done and thank you for this stillness which you offer up on behalf of all of us.
It may be, like me, you can only do this occasionally. For now it may be enough to pause, remember to breathe, pay attention and take three conscious glorious breaths. I would encourage you to try this as often as you possibly can, and so slowly, gently, cumulatively, we might absorb, assimilate and marinade in the silence that is always there.
It may help us to notice that a lot of things which are beautiful, are silently so. I’m sure you can name some, like the stars and flowers and gemstones. You may be delicately aware as you dwell in silence, however briefly, of a shift within that is almost imperceptible. Except you may find yourself being a little extra kind. Or a touch more peaceful or patient, or creative. You may be able to take a slightly more open stance towards the world.
So you, even though you may barely perceive it, and those who benefit from your fragile, tentative shifts of the heart, utter an inaudible ‘thank you’ to and into the silence.
The silence that dwells within
may be the loudest silence of them all.
The tummy, the chest, the heart
always engaging in their necessary rhythms,
energising, breathing, beating.
That space next to me,
Just outside of me
But that is kind of still, me,
Because to for you to be in it
I have to have welcomed you in.
That safety zone
Where, if we wish to connect with another
we need to cross this quietly held
extension of ourselves.
The global hush
The temperate skies
The empty roads
And green traffic lights.
The machines have ceased
And so our global quiet grows
Turns out it was there all along
A little stifled in places,
In others it has been ever thus.
This silence has always been,
It was at the beginning,
It is here now, holding us
from beneath, like arms
And it will be there too, waiting
at the end of all things.