Published: 3 October 2013 | Written by Swami Veda Bharati
Silence is such a profound and deep experience of human existence that only when we have understood silence would we understand all the inspiration that has ever flowed to humanity from the minds and mouths of its great saints and sages. To understand silence as an act, as a habit of mind, is to know a person’s disposition and most natural urge. We can look to the monks or “silent ones” of our society for example; however, even a householder with an active life can learn the art of “speaking” while in silence. Such a paradox has a very clear lesson.
Silence is creative; silence is dynamic; silence speaks when all words fail. So celebrate an hour, a half day, a day of silence. Start slowly with full permission of all those involved. Then begin with the attitude of celebrating. When you come upon noisy persons, sprinkle a cloud full of silence on them. We have only to look at the examples of saints and sages that understood the secrets of silence. They did not respond to conflict with conflict. When they spoke, their speech was measured, beneficial, and pleasant. Only then did they reach into their vessel of stillness and became silent.
Sprinkle silence out the windows of your eyes, of your senses, out of your heart and through your words. Convey your inner peace, stillness and emotional equilibrium. See how this silence “speaks” to other minds at that deep level. Silence impacts the psyche as no spoken word can.
So learn to build up that energy within yourself. It is not the silence of being “shut up.” It is not that silence with which you come home angry and you say, “I’m not going to say anything to anybody.” That is not silence, because then you go to your room and you bang your door and your spouse says, “What happened, honey” “Nothing happened, I didn’t say anything.” Well, you’ve said enough. You’ve said enough for 10,000 years; that is not the silence we are speaking of. It is the other kind of silence. The kind when someone has banged the door you stand there and immediately on that person’s face who has banged the door comes a serenity, a silence. This is the silence of the saints of the ages. It is the smiling silence of the Buddha. Practice it again and again. Experience that stillness again and again.
But ‘you have no time’– you say. Ah, you have no time! There is time between the breath and the breath. For a fraction of a moment between the inhalation and the exhalation there comes a moment of silence. Just learn to experience that in the middle of your noisy day.
I wish you the art of learning to live in silence, and I wish you the discovery of that still depth of mind in which all words cease, from which all spoken words arise. May your meditations and contemplations lead you to be “the silent one”. May it lead you not to be a super man, but to be a silent woman, a silent man.
When a child is disturbed, you place yourself into deep silence and take the child and put the child to the left side of your bosom, where he can feel your heart beat, where the child can feel your depth of breath and the crying child, if it is not a matter of great physical discomfort for him, if it is not an illness or something, just wrap your arms around the child. The child will pick up your mood of silence, and he will learn that communication which will come in handy for him for his entire life.
Let silence be part of your education for your children and then you too will enjoy in your great nations the same kind of silence that the people of Bali I Indonesia enjoy on the Nyepi day, that the entire nation goes into silence.
May you keep your silence even while walking through the traffic of downtown in any city. Blessings to you.