Go placidly amid the noise and the haste
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Our world is full of noise – the beautiful sounds of nature mostly drowned out by our affluent lifestyle distilled out into such components as: the rattle of the refrigeration; the roar of the vacuum cleaner; the growl of the dishwasher and washing machine – its deep woof woof changing to a high pitched jet-turbine-like whine; the unceasing beeps of electronic devices, the pervading buzz of fluorescent lighting; the rumble of the traffic; the screams of sirens shouting to us of tragedies that we hope do not affect us or ours. The ugly noises of discord, brought into our lives by radio, television, abuse of substances and a too close proximity with our neighbours.
Always there is noise, the white noise that never sleeps, even in our dreams. The noise that incessantly erodes the fabric of our sanity – unless we stop and seek refuge in the silence, the quiet, the breath of God/the Universal Life Force/your inner Wisdom/whatever.
At first, it is just so hard to turn off the chatter in your mind, and when you manage to do that to a reasonable degree, you may find the silence frightening because it is so alien. But you will come to treasure each moment spent there, in the peace, the stillness, looking for it at every opportunity.
You could start by just listening to some soft calming and relaxing music – with headphones maybe – just enough to isolate and insulate you from the hurley-burley around you. Discover your breath, your heartbeat.
Soon you can distill out the “civilized” aggravating noises (they will become less noticeable), to focus on birdsong near and far, and perhaps the bark of a distant dog, raindrops against the window – sounds of nature.
Upgrade your skills further to listen to a leaf fall in the autumn, the crackle and crunch of frost on a winter’s morn, the wondrous cadence of new life in spring, and the melting of tension in the warmth of a summer’s day.
There is a deep and abiding peace to be found in silence, away from the cacophony of modern life. You may happen to hear the whisper of a cloud passing by, or the gentle rustle of a breeze in the grass. That is OK – in fact that is more than OK. I envy you if you can achieve this degree of subtlety.
In our 24/7 world, it is soul restoring to take time to notice a bird in a bush or on the pavement; the scent of flowers as you walk past the florist; the gift of a smile from a stranger; the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the rain on the tip of your nose; the laugh of a child. The unmuddied and unsullied purity of life.
There are opportunities for these moments in time even in our busy lives. Take 2, or 3 or 5 (minutes/hours/ days) and sigh a long breath – aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh – and smile with your heart.
Become aware, empty your stresses, and fill your being with gentleness and peace. Gird and armour yourself with a clearer mind, ready to forge once more into battle with “the Noise”.
I am still at the “minutes” stage and I grab what I can get with an open heart.
How are you doing?