The right to silence

The right to silence

Can you hear it? Some inspiration

The composer, John Cage expressed: “The sound experience which I prefer to all others is the experience of silence”. Whoever thought that we could rediscover the power of attention through silence? We may not think of silence as being something that we need but the power of silence can stir us inexplicably, it speaks its own volumes and in times of crisis, silence can be the one thing that we need the most.

Silence helps us to create our own peaceful spaces within our own mindsets, it allows us freedom in the sense that we can use our intuition to help us deal with unexpected surprises.

Silence has been used across the world for centuries and dates back to history. Records show a period of silence in remembrance of King Edward VII, when he died in 1910. One was also held after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. But the practice of using silence to remember the dead was firmly established on 11 November 1919 - the first two-minute commemorative silence on Armistice Day.

Silence is also used for a number of collective events and shows. We use silence for remembrance, reflection and inspiration. Silence is also known to communicate power , authority and respect such as silence in a courtroom or silence at an important ceremony. Silence keeps things in order and sometimes the biggest points made of all are those where we feel we don’t need to say anything and silence is then “golden”.

Many spiritual disciplines, practices and religions use silence in order to build reflection of the world around them and retain their clarity. Sometimes silence creeps into our lives uninvited and at the most unexpected times, but rather than appreciating our silences and being present in the moment we shy away and look for distraction without acknowledging why the silence has perhaps occurred.

But silence asks us to notice something, it asks us to breathe, to regain and sometimes to retreat. Taking part in our own silences can become a gift because without the real appreciation of silence we can not see the broader scale of things and nor could we work out puzzles or complexities and with silence being so soulful we can perhaps hear and see things that we wouldn’t normally concede, such as taking note of the way the wind moves the trees or turns the flowers, the way leaves scatter or the falling of rain. Silence can indeed speak to us through nature and no one can deny the warmth they feel when they experience the silence of golden sunlight. We don’t always need words and noise to let someone know how we feel because sometimes the message is simply there already.

Nature lets us know when we need to speak and sometimes even the search for reassurance can be found in a peaceful silence such as meditation, or a tranquil walk. Quite often however we are consumed with too much materialism and technology and therefore convince ourselves that we need more of the same thing to fill our infinite spaces. We then end up with a string of unnecessary distractions , becoming addicted to company that may demolish our light taking us back through the same cycles.

We might fear solitude because it can make us feel vulnerable and isolated but what solitude actually does is teach us about our own values reminding us that we do not need to rely on others to feel complete. It also brings us face to face with who we really are and what we really want, what we think and what we feel. It puts us back in touch with our own senses providing us with a clearer insight of our own individual pathways. It is possible for us all to find a sense of identity through silence if we just give ourselves permission to hear it. The experience will undoubtedly be magical.

How to appreciate silence:
Think of your silence like a cool, gentle breeze or a whisper
Whenever you hear silence say thank you and value your moment of peace
Use silence to let thoughts flow, let anything filter through and try not control
Notice things you see, feel and hear during silence
Take special time out each day to enjoy your own silence
Go to a special place where you can appreciate your silence. A church, a beautiful landscape, woodland, a quiet room or a park bench
Write down your thoughts after your silence

Quote Composer John Cage


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