The Belonging of Silence

Our sense of belonging is often tied to our five senses. Things that I see belong to me and my experience, and so, in a way, I belong to them. I know what a rose looks like, a mountain, a beautiful tree, a hot car, a funny clown. It works that way with my other senses, too: the things I hear, smell, taste and feel both physically and emotionally. Those sensory experiences are part of my belonging.  I belong to them and they belong to me, and you and I share so many of those experiences together, which helps us belong to each other. 

It is also true that as a small child, those older people around me helped form what I perceived with my senses–as well as what they left silent and did not name. They named beautiful sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings. In some cases, they gave me encouragement to experience a perception that at first might not be so positive (I’m thinking about collard greens and barking dogs and roller coasters). They also just left some things silent. Who are the people we describe as attractive or beautiful? Who are the people we can call friends? What are the feelings that are welcome and “normal?” In the silences, there is a belonging, too. The silences left in my experiences are the very places to explore. When I find them and when I dare to name them, a new field of belonging opens up for me and for others. 

This is what I think the work of radical welcoming is: it is finding the experiences that have been left silent in my life and choosing to open to them. To see. To hear. To taste. To smell. To feel. All those beings and experiences that I have excluded because I have left them in the silence. The silence invites us into a larger world of belonging.

~Bob Patrick

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4 Responses to The Belonging of Silence

  1. Daniel Bailey says:

    Yes, looking through my conditioned filters and perceptions to the “real” world or at least a less conditioned one. The At-one-meant, to use a cliche!

  2. Rita Romero says:

    Thank you! You always lead me to think in different ways. This reflection does not disappoint.

  3. Katrina says:

    So True ! I especially like the way you find your way into that illusive silent space. I can understand the sensory experience is the best first step. Being open to adapt and own the reason we silenced them in the first place may point to answers.

  4. Katrina says:

    I have just read this again. Most of the time an evocative and profound piece takes more than once to get the full effect and meaning, (and then again). I think this mediation on the belonging of silence is written from a point of view deeper within one’s self. Silence can be uncomfortable. We live in an era of immediate gratification and face to face communication /or a Real Phone Call can seem tricky. Silence in itself has no positive or negative value, yet when it is contextualized it can be very powerful. That power is a force to be harnessed if we want to know ourselves and welcome others.

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