via Daily Prompt: Noise
Nightfall just south of Marla (South Australia) so peaceful, the silence is powerful.
I often think of noise differently. I often hope my silence is noisy, as a sense of presence, a calm, so that my silence shouts to the world – there is another way. I was once in a contemplative space and someone interrupted the silence some of us were enjoying, and I quipped, sarcastically, “Is my silence interrupting your noise?” Sometimes silence isn’t noisy enough to grab other people’s attention so that they can see it, feel it, and know it. There are times I hope it is an example, as we say of meditation, we hope our non-reactive silence is helpful and calming. Remember the old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”
With the noise of deadlines, electronica, health issues, discord, celebrations, shopping centres, busy roads, bustling streets, the jarring noises of life can be debilitating, energy sapping. But silence is a worthy noise. Silence is a contempative stance, a space to claim against the heft of noise, and a place to rejuvenate. It is pleasant work, and it is work because you have to work hard to make the time for silence, and to stick at it. But is work that is deeply invested in your health, body, mind and soul.
And silence is the only space in which we can meaningfully hold ourselves and others with an ear to empathy and compassion. I personally find my reflective and contemplative practices increase my ability to empathise, and to compassionately engage with others. For me an investment in silence is the best noise to engage with.
via Photo Challenge: Silence
Can you hear that? No? Exactly, relative silence.
Gordon Hempton and John Crossman published their book ‘One Square Inch of Silence’ back in 2009. It was an attempt to highlight the need for silence for healthy living and for the environemnt in general. It is a noise control project and has had some positive responce from commerce and industry in the US which is where the study was based. The book is a great read, and is really a biography of Hempton’s physical journey to establish if one square inch of silence could be found.
The photo is of Jindalee Breakaway, and there, there was the sound of birds, and wind, and nought else. But the search for outer silence is one thing, and can never trump the search for inner silence. My meditation teacher always said, you should be able to meditate in an airport lounge. And I laughed then, but now I know it to be true.
But the double bonus for me, as some of you know, is to meditate in the bush – this is a literal heaven. There I am nourished and truly flourish and become whole.
via Daily Prompt: Static
I really like and need meditation, I like its many forms too. Static mediation, sitting and focussing on breathing and being faithful to my mantra is my main form, and brings me joy. But another way of mediation I love is, as I have written before, is the use of the labyrinth, which can take any form or way you like. But no matter the form, the walking clearly isn’t static, and yet, the movement of the body acts like a mantra, it enables focus through rhythm. And so stasis, or the slowing of the inner self is possible. For me it is one of the greatest forms of prayer. It is mentioned in all the great traditions, and not least non-religion, and including Christianity, which surprises some, and is a point of dialogue and connection across beliefs. For me it is a greater connection with being and spirit, a sense of wholeness. It is said that meditation is a form of maturity in prayer, it is the setting aside of agendas and attending to awareness.
In the christian tradition, the antecendents of modern meditation are found in the lives of the desert fathers and mothers, those who formed commnities in the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East, and Syria. Their emphasis was on silnece, and contemplative prayer forms. I love the following quote from one abba Arsenius: “Why, words, did I let you get out? I have often been sorry that I have spoken, never that I have been silent.” which reminds me of Monty Python and a scene from the Holy Grail where God rails against the noise of “all those miserable psalms.” The point being that endless repetition without mindfulness dulls us.
I’m not sure where you’re at, or what you think of meditation, but what I do know is that the world could do with a bit more silence each day, a little more thought for the other, a little more engagement with becoming rather than just doing. A little more stasis would be good all round.
via Daily Prompt: Silent
Since the late 1980s I have been a meditator. I have enjoyed several forms, but mainly across Christian and Buddhist ways of meditating. In the end I have stayed within my own tradition and using a Christian form – the method explored by John Main. Labyrinth is another form, and walking meditation I find helpful, and not least bush walking or hiking. But whatever the method, the goal is silence, not an external silence, of course, but a deep inner silence, a peacefulness, a sense of internal unity. It is the closest to a tangible sense of integration. For me there are real experiences of calm that last long after a session, and encounters with emotion, necessary unburdening as the unconscious is loosened and long buried things can be faced. Strangely, I have a strong sense of unity with others within the corporate silence, so that even in a room full of meditators there is connection.
I find I can meditate almost anywhere, but the bush is my special place for meditation, I find that it is already offering a form of silence unencumbered. The photo shows one of my former haunts, Billyacatting Rock near Nungarin. I was based not far from there for a few years, and on my long drives through that district I would take a break and walk and climb the rocks, arriving at a quiet spot, perhaps to sit by a rock pool or gnamma hole and meditating for a time. The wind and the birds were a welcome backdrop. Best thing I ever did, the silence was healing and energising, and was a lasting inner silence.