“Despite the materialism of our modern century and the infernal noise of its mechanical, industrial, nuclear, and military power, there still exist a few representatives of that superior type of humanity who in silence inquire, meditate, and pray.”
Khaled Bentounes 20th-21st century
The other morning, as I laid supine on the aesthetician’s table, in a dimly lit, herb infused treatment room, listening to a CD of melodic Native American instrumentals, I was extremely grateful for the aesthetician’s reticence, reveling in the stillness of the room. Outside, the work-a-day traffic was most certainly zooming by as it had been when I entered the building, but as she proceeded to apply different facial serums and creams, facilitating their performance with steam and gentle massage, I marveled at the aesthetician’s ability to bring forth such peace and pleasure in another human being. I bathed in the tranquility of the room. Silently chanting “Namaste” and feeling more at peace with each recitation, I reminded myself to breathe and found that when I focused on my breathing, my lungs would swell and the peace I felt upon exhalation increased. In the course of an hour that I spent there, I meditated, prayed and questioned the universe about how I could go forth from that room and spread the feeling that I had within. At the end of the treatment I jokingly asked if I could take a bottle of “it” (the feeling) home.
I’m not implying that one acquires the status of “that superior type of humanity…”by having facials, or that I claim to be a member of that group. I simply rejoiced in that silence today, and found it a welcome, palliative balm. Ranting about the increasing lack of silence to be found in our modern century, and the effects of that dearth, seems dichotomous as least, but I believe the point to be a valid link to the lack of humanity found in certain members of our population who turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, or present closed hearts to their fellow brothers and sisters. That self-same lack of humanity attacks the cells of its host and creates an emptiness of the soul that fails to recognize the cancer that grows within. As our lives become less frequently attached to other human beings and more frequently attached to technology, I fear we’ll find fewer representatives of “that superior type of humanity”.
It is in the silence that we hear the questions and in the silence where we’ll find the answers. Mahatma Ghandi said, “In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
Silence becomes the lens with which we’re able to focus, the lens which magnifies previously illusory answers. Still it’s possible that we’ve become so accustomed to a world of noise, that silence is sometimes foreign and unfamiliar, and therefore an uncomfortable state. At times, we even seek out and use background noise to calm us, to center us, to motivate us. But it’s also likely that in the “din”, that still, small voice within is drowned out, the creative, imaginative mind quieted, and a sense of awe and wonder arising from the sounds of the natural world is deadened.
Go forth and for just a short while at first, be silent.
Peace, Love, and Silence
Some of my favorite quotes on silence:
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” -Mother Teresa
“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden, or even in your bathtub.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
“The deepest rivers make the least din. The silent soul doth most abound in care.” William Alexander
“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of life, which they are thenceforth to rule.”- Thomas Carlyle