Not knowing silence (recently). Days have been filled. It is too easy to get into the pattern of sound. Others talking, engines vibrating, planes overhead, music from car radios, restaurant chatter, traffic…
I watch Serendipity sniff the air. Her whiskers twitch as she pushes her face in the direction of the light breeze. The sound that carries her chirrup as she greets me to sit. I look through the studio window – it is still, sunny, a butterfly or two dance. I hear the sound of my pen against the paper, my hand brushing lightly across the page – a bit of ringing in my ears, my blood rushing through my veins, an occasional bird song. The sound of my tea being swallowed.
Silence. It has been a while it seems, since hearing the space between everything aforementioned. Not since retreat some ten days ago, where spaces of silence become apparent ( a parent ) and elongated. It happens, here, in the studio as well. It is a practice of awareness like all else.
Watching. An awareness of how one picks up a cup – moves their body, chews, tastes, swallows. A rustle of fabric.
Stillness. What is the relationship between stillness and silence and even further than that – peace. I do not mean the small peace in a given room, or out of doors, or in a library or a place of meditation. I am referring to a big peace, a big, sincere, deep equanimity that comes from every single person literally stopping what they are doing at this moment. Not small stopping. Big stopping. Stop reading, stop computing, park the car – stop driving. Jogging – stop. Pulling the gun to shoot at someone -stop. Yelling – stop. Grocery shopping, stop. Raping that man, woman child – stop that action. Planes taking off and landing – stop for a moment as you are on the ground. Beating and killing of an animal – stop. Stop all movement. Put down the fork and the drink.
Everyone just stop. Make the small stop a big peace. Sending the merits of those moments of silence out into the world. Pay attention to what happens. No screaming or yelling sounds. Instead, hearing the sounds of your own heart beating. Seeing harshness – seeing softness. Being aware what a moment or two of stopping and identifying with someone actually does – and what it can do – what we are capable of doing as a result of this. What happens when we recognize the importance of our breath and everyone else’s?
Stillness. Silence. Un-chaos. Look where you live, really see it, and perhaps even more important, look at what you are doing and thinking in these very moments.