Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sound of silence

A good machine in perfect working condition avoids friction and makes minimum noise. You may observe that the same rule applies to human beings too. A loose tongue is one of the greatest curses. Silence has a wonderful creative power. Make a study of the lives of great men. They conceive of an idea but they do not go out and shout it before the world; they think and work quietly until they realise their dream. Because in silence we are able to think better and we are able to express our ideas through our actions more effectively.

To do our best we need to order our mind, gather up its scattered forces and establish equilibrium. We cannot do this unless we withdraw at intervals from the haste and noise of outer occupations. Silence enables us to store up a great deal of lifeforce which now we spend unwisely in needless talking. We wear ourselves out, disturb others and say much which might better be left unsaid. When we talk constantly we also dull the mind and lessen its power of penetration.

Dionysius the Elder said, "Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent". When we live on the surface level we argue and dispute and challenge others who differ from us; but when we come in contact with something deeper, we go silent and do not try to force it on other minds. We try to live it. And when we do, it inevitably reaches other lives.

All great ideas and deeper understanding unfold in the hours of silent reflection. When our ears are listening to the loud voices of the world and when we are talking constantly, we cannot know that another voice is speaking in our heart. It is only in the moment of silence we hear the voice.

The practice of physical silence restores the power of our body and sense organs. The practice of mental silence through meditation refreshes the mind and sharpens the faculties. The power gained thus is tremendous. A moment of silence before each task enables us to maintain our balance. If we learn to bring ourselves to a state of absolute stillness, checking all unnecessary use of energy the body is refreshed. This reacts on the mind, makes it alert and free. That is why great things are always done silently.

There is nothing which can rest us more quickly than the experience of silence. When all is still, when our thoughts are quieted down and our entire nervous system is in order, when we have nothing against anyone and our mind is calm and poised, then in the inner depth of stillness we find eternal bliss.

If we can form the habit of devoting a certain time to silent relaxation, it will have a very definite beneficial effect upon both our physical and mental being. So every morning and night reserve some time to experience silence. Silence is a precious commodity in this noisy modern society. In a world that is gone more than slightly mad, finding your core of silence is like recapturing the fort of sanity and peace.

(Pubished in The Hindu 15-07-2000)

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