It is said that there are times when God asks nothing of his children except silence, patience and tears. Of these three, the one I would love to be continually asked to give is silence.
Not the brooding, grudging type. But the kind of silence hat has its own inherent applause. The value of silence is all too often lost in a world that relishes noise and which hardly has anytime to pause and just be silent. And neither does a silent man these days meet with a lot of appreciation.
To be silent is, according to the world, to be gloomy, to brood over problems, to be disturbed. The world rarely believes that a man can be silent and just be listening to the echoes of his own soul.
Human beings pride themselves on being able to do many things including, to an appreciable degree, conquering nature. They are able to build houses after the fashion of the bees or invent aeroplanes after the fashion of birds. But few seem able to copy the silence of a flower. This is the kind of silence, which we continually evade and of which we find only in the shadow in dreams.
To partake of a deep, profound silence, a huge cathedral, might give an idea. But you have to be there before any mass begins. For, much as it is nourishing to the spirit, the service comes to defile the divine silence.
When were you last in a wooded, silent place where you could savour serenity in all its trappings? Days were when I used to escape to the bosom of Saturdays into deep woods and hold dialogues with my soul. Days were when my ears would ring with the melody of silence and unspoken words would find their expression in the profoundness of singular thought. Days were when I would gaze into the heavens and the skies and I would see much more than crows and birds. These days, all this seems to have become a luxury. In the highway of the fastness of life, silence and solitude has become a hit and run casualty.
Do I not miss the walks into the sunset? Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that few people know how to walk. He proceeded to give the qualifications, which he named as endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humour, vast curiosity, good speech and silence
Emerson forgot one thing: solitude. For to achieve the beneficial levels of silence, one needs to be in the company of one or be accompanied by a friend who relishes silence as one of the greatest arts of conversation. For it pays nothing to find a placid locale and have a motor-mouth accompanying you.
In silence, a lot is achieved. You recall the past, you glimpse into the future with a prophetic insight; you dialogue with your soul. Most of us believe that it is when we are in the mid of noise that the world seems to be friendly. Man, it is said, goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamour of silence.
Yet, as Scottish philosopher noted when the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall. But a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
How I wish I would be able to find all the time in the world to escape from the world into the refuge of silence. To be able to drown all the insults, all the unkindness, all the cruelty of the world in ointments of silence is to discover an invaluable medication.