Our world, the culture we live in, is drenched in noise. The sounds of traffic, of transport. The music, often making it difficult to speak, in cafes. Even in the Quiet Coach someone has to speak so everyone else can hear.
On the streets, in the offices, in the parks, people walk with their smart phones on high alert. Forever communicating, listening, looking. Deaths on the roads are caused by the enchantment of smart phones.
Every sense has its mode of rest. Smelling and tasting are the more sensitive the less they are put to work. Sight is rested easily in closed eyes. Touch softens in rest. But even in sleep, the ears are awake. How amusing it is to see a dog’s ear straighten on a sound. And the mind! is for ever achattering, silenced only in deep sleep.
Sounds are neutral. But some we hear as music to the ears and others as thorns. Music, whether of human or nature, is health giving. But there comes a time of too much. Noise brings tension and if constant ill-health. There comes a craving for the end of sound. The succulent pleasure of silence.
But the mind won’t stop so easily. In the quietest of meditation rooms, the mind blasts out. Not just the chatter, but the emotional noise too. All the aversions, all the anxieties, all the lusts. Shutting down the outer world with its music and noise, only opens up the inner world – for most – a purgatorial video.
We can draw the concentration down to the neutral sensations of the breath and listen to it. Feel it. Let it draw us into a stillness. The delightful joy of silence.
For those with ability and time, there is a state of absorption of sheer stillness, peace and absolute silence. But even to sit in silence with a cup of tea, brings a deep refreshment. Whatever the depth of silence, there is always nourishment.
Even more so among friends. To walk, to sit, to eat in silence, aware of the presence of the other, is a communication of being. It is the experience of the other in their essence, before their becoming somebody. It can be as shocking as death, as astonishing as birth.
And there is a deeper silence still. It is a silence beyond silence, for there are no sounds to compare it with. Here is the resting place of the Buddha Within.