One of the reasons I appreciate silence is my acute awareness of how very uncommon it is. I grew up in New York City. There, the opportunity to commune with silence is not just rare, it’s nonexistent. There is a scene in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in which the New York reporter, as he settles in to bed on his first night in Savannah, turns on a recording of traffic noise in order to facilitate sleep. That’s not entirely fiction – I know many for whom sleep is elusive without that city ruckus at the edges of their consciousness. Lack of silence is not an annoyance to us. Being native to it, being constantly immersed in it, it becomes a percussive rhythm which forms the background track of our days. Lack of silence sounds like Home.
I used to listen to it in “quiet” moments and allow it to whisper its truths to me. Ride it down into my own understanding. In truth, all of the hubub is its own form of silence.
I no longer live in a city, or even remotely near one. For years now I have been practicing the song of life to a different rhythm, one that allows me to listen in in a different way to what the universe is offering me each day.
This morning my silence is filled with sound.
Birdsong and the humming of appliances,
Clicking of the coffeemaker,
The rhythm of his breath as he sits beside me,
Pouring, purring, wind chime tones,
And the breeze itself rustling through the trees.
There is no silence like my silence.
When I am attuned to the rhythm of my environment – that hum that underlies everything else – I am able to tap into the voice inside of me that harbors a wisdom deeper than my own. The simple act of conscious, deep listening when there is “nothing” to hear brings me closer in connection with all there is. It can facilitate not only sleep, but Waking. Wisdom. Compassion. Love.
No matter where I am, there is no silence like my silence.