Monday, April 6, 2015

Of Silence and Listening...

On Saturday evening we witnessed a magnificent spectacle in the sky: the lunar eclipse. What amazed me that evening was the absolute silence that prevailed all around, even the silence of nature. The complete silence that lasted the duration of the eclipse was indeed an amazing experience. I felt that we experience the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur only in moments of complete silence.

Today, if you look around you find that all we have around us is noise. It’s noisy in the streets, it’s noisy in the restaurants, it’s noisy on the television, it’s noisy everywhere. Even schools today teach the young to read, write and recite, but never to listen — not only to listen externally but also internally. We are in times when, even while working, walking, jogging or simply sitting, we have a constant companion called noise.

In fact we have reached a stage where silence is scary and hence there’s a need for noise as a constant companion.

When we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind.

Ask yourself this question: “Will I be my best friend?”. The answer in all probability will be “no!” That is because we are constantly self-critical.

In order to escape this self-critical person in us we find various ways not to listen to the mind.

While the self-critique in us can make us quite uncomfortable, it is the storehouse of information. It can give us an insight into how we are currently thinking and feeling.

When we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can go about understanding and healing the inner critique. And one of the ways we can understand and heal the inner critique is by remaining silent, by listening and experiencing everything around us, accepting the views of others, listening to the thoughts of others.

We find difficulty in following it, because as soon as we are subjected to any feedback, our defense mechanisms, built up unconsciously since childhood, spring to our apparent rescue.

When we become defenseless and operate through silence we discover a new self, a self that is happy and in sync with its surroundings. In the self that has divinity within we can find the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur.

As Rachel Naomi Remen has said: “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. “Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.

“A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words”.

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