When silence is too loud one of two things happens, inner peace or turmoil. I often equate silence with stillness maybe because they can be found in the same voids absent of sound or motion. In this sense, I wonder if either can truly be achieved. With the constant vibrations of energy on a planet constantly rotating, stimulation is our nature. Though like an amplifier, there are times when we need to switch to a lower frequency. We can’t perpetually sustain “ready to rock” mode!
Finding Your Silence and Stillness: Some meditators, or anyone have trouble because there are few opportunities where there are quiet surroundings. How can we feel stillness and silence when so much is happening around us? Do we have to go to the wilderness to find some peace? Who can relax with motorcycles and high-pitch terrier barks? The trick here is to focus on the quiet you can control. A common misconception is trying to manipulate all of the external chaos. To mute commercials sometimes feels like an indulgence! You can switch off the rumbling machines, shut the windows, and ask your cohabitants to please, please be a little quieter, but then you find the slightest noise a huge annoyance. If you find quiet and calm within you, what you can really control, then you’ll feel ease at a construction site. Like the thoughts in your head that you might have been taught to observe and let go in introductions to mindfulness and meditation, the same can be done with outside sounds. Becoming in-tune to all of the sounds is sort of like listening, except you can choose to acknowledge the sound (as it is without getting too lost in the outrage) before effectively disengaging. I’ve found myself breathing to the pulses of a leaf blower next door and turning someone else’s phone conversation into an opportunity to count my heartbeats. Much of what is going on in your body and your head influence your experience of the world. Though it often feels like the noise and rapid pace directly disturbs us, kill it with the calm in you.
The Dangers of Silence: Striving for the calm that silence can bring is one thing, but silence causes heavy damage too. Maybe you’ve heard of the hashtags or slogans “silence is violence” or “silence is compliance.” I see it as a reminder to be aware of the ways we choose to show support. Choosing to be silent in a situation does not reflect a choice to “stay out of it,” instead the non-involvement is a choice to support the offender/dominant party. I absolutely hate confrontation (mostly because talking is not my favorite way to express myself—separate issue!), but I know that my own insecurities have and will continue to cost myself and others if I don’t become an active participant in…life. Issues of race, #metoo, lgbtq+, even climate change are not new; they are simply and finally being talked about more. If you’re feeling threatened by any or all of it and feeling like your importance has lessened, it’s because others’ importance has long been lessened and any attempts to challenge that have been silenced. Racism, misogyny, etc. is not just violent acts, exclusion, or making openly bigoted remarks. It’s letting them happen and not acknowledging that each of us has flaws and adjustments to make. You can be a good person and make mistakes, but don’t let history repeat itself.
Silence can be snowfall or the muffled sensation of noise against vast sand landscapes, and it can also be the difference between enabling oppression and calling for reconsideration. Silencing others often comes in the form of assuming that everybody in the room shares your opinion. Disagreements are okay, the goal is for everybody to be heard.
Go find internal silence and no longer be externally silent! Be bold, be curious, make way for all. If you like this page, please share it!