Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Seven Weeks of Silence

A Year of Silence? Ah, the idea is a bit unusual to people when they first hear of it or encounter it. Most people shrug or give me a positive sign or say, “Right on.” Still, I suspect most of them really don't know what to think.

Why be silent, when you have vocal apparatus? Was one response.

Isn’t being silent then disrespectful to people who talk? Or wasteful? Or who knows, unnatural?

I will admit that not speaking in the modern “civilized” world is rather unusual. Unless one is deaf and dumb, or has a really bad case of laryngitis. But, I think the other responses are off the mark.

• Disrespectful?

Actually, silence opens the possibility of greater respect, better listening. Refraining from idle talk and gossip and negative words which all of us are prone to express. Often without even realizing our intent or effect.

Silence allows us time and space from so much mind to open to more heart. Maybe the Year will bring more heart to bear in my interactions with others. I already realize that once people recognize I am being Silent by choice, I don’t have to come up with conversation. I potentially can be more present.

On the other hand, I am still getting used to the situation and so are others I meet. Time will tell.

• Wasteful?

Well, I believe firmly that we waste lots and lots of energy with words.

It has been suggested to me that I may lose my voice during a Year of Silence. That suggestion holds little concern for me. I have talked for 68 years, I am not likely to forget how to talk. Nor is the body going lose the ability. Besides, I chant three times a day with my meditations.

But, that aside, I do think that my voice and words will be more valuable and potent at the end of a Year of Silence than before. My old friend Jim Kinerk used to call me Boomer. I have not the slightest concern about “losing my voice.” I think it more likely that I will come closer to expressing my Real Voice after the Year.

I will learn a bit from having listened better to my fellow beings, from observing the nature of words and sounds, and maybe even from developing the ability to hear the Inner Voice. Besides, Actions speak louder than Words. If we talked less, maybe we would have more time to do positive things. We can then exemplify rather than tout ourselves and our beliefs.

• Unnatural? I think not. Maybe unhabitual, if there is such a word. How often do we speak without thinking, just pouring words out by habit, unconsciously, with little or no awareness sometimes of what is rolling off our lips?

I believe Nature and God speak with deliberation and power. Rhythmically, sonorously, and healthfully. They know what They are “talking” about. Humans - including myself - too often do the opposite. How often have we wished to take back vain words and comments and complaints and mouthings dribbled from our lips?

I might add that I have, in recent times, communicated with a number of people from my past - sometimes distant past. I have tendered several of them apologies - sometimes making amends - for the wrong words or words wrongly spoken. My former wife used to say, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

I am still learning that lesson, maybe a Year of Silence will help me come closer to completing that rather difficult learning.

There is another version of my ex-wife's adage: “It’s not what you do, but how you do it.” Just being silent is only part of the process. The other part - an more important - I am learning is how to be silent.

Every moment, past present and future is an opportunity for learning. Hopefully I eventually will learn to emulate Mahatma Gandhi who is said to have mouthed these words wonderful words:

“SPEAK only to improve the SILENCE.”

Have Jolly Holiday, silent or otherwise.


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