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Rethink silence

Erin's picture

I have to admit that the permanent nature of our posts do seem more scary now especially when I look at my own writings after two weeks. Three weeks of in-depth discussion of silence with different kind of silence practice make my first analysis of silence so unconvincing and simple. I guess that’s why people always say writing is an endless process. I will not try to overthrow my reactions about silence but try to organize my thoughts in a more logic and connected way.

At this point, I am still not sure about whether I get the essence of silence. Last time, I try to visualize my perception of silence from two extremes. However, silence is too hard to be categorized by any standard. It can become so complicated or so simple depending on the situations. 

To visualize the silence, I chose the picture of deep sea. I do have a reason to put my picture in front of my words. For readers, I believe a picture will give them more direct answer which represents my perception of silence. However, for me, I think my rambling words actually can reveal my understanding of silence better. The way of expressing silence has to change for different purposes, doesn’t it?

I will stick my visualization image of silence, the deep sea. The serene but mysterious deep sea still can always remind me of my visual construction of silence in mind. The state of relief and being able to be completely isolated from the outside to focused on internal self.

My first reaction to silence is still positive. I shouldn’t say silence in hard to find on this planet. It’s too human centric perspective and personal. Silence is particularly invaluable from my personal perspective. Growing up in a city crowded with 10 million people. I find it hard to be left alone. There is always something happening in this busy city. People are rushing to get to somewhere. Tons of things, organic or inorganic, living or not, are constantly making some kinds of sound. All kinds of sound, usually noise, such as traffic, irrelevant conversations are constant background sounds in my life. Therefore, I would really appreciate some quietness. However, silence means more than just being quite and even harder to find.

I think of silence of the state of absolute concentration and calm. In such situation, I can try to be with myself and slowly rediscover the hidden self. As a fan of yoga, my favorite part is the meditation practice. During that period of time in silence, I am fully concentrated and all my irrelevant thoughts are suppressed temporarily. I can feel the exact pattern of my inhales and exhales in every breath I take. I can keep track every bit of tiredness in my body and any worries in my mind. The growing awareness of self is accomplished through each meditation practice.

As part of this crowded and lively city, I was busy fitting into such environment too. I really had little time to focus on myself. Though such practice, I seem to have a better control of my physical and mental capacity. Every since then, I became interested in such practice to gain better understandings and control of myself and to solve the problems in my life more easily with a clearer and organized mind. I can leave out all the irrelevant background noise and focused on the essential part of my life. All those help me find the optimal solution.

Just like everything else in life, my clam deep sea can’t stay sound all time. There are times in my life that storms in the deep sea result in another state of silence.

I remember the morning when I found out that my grandfather passed away. Just that very morning, I decided to make a surprise phone to congratulate my father’s birthday. Even though, I had known the fact that there was no way that my grandfather would get better and recover completely. When the moment came, the news was too cruel to accept. My father was trying to remain calm and pretending that he had accepted it. He was trying his best to comfort me in phone. I can felt the heaviness in his tone across the 12 time zone. At that moment, I felt no words can explain and express my feelings. I just remained silent, so did my father. For the first time, I found that language could be so useless.

That was the saddest call I ever made since I left home four years ago. There were so many feelings need to be reveled but they all piled up suddenly in such a short time that nothing can come out at the end. Both my father and I felt that being silent was the only reaction we could have to handle such tragedy and we both did. The amazing invention of language was silenced due to the overwhelming emotions. After all, silence is another expression that seems to capture such complex emotions better.

Even though, my two scenarios of silence went from one extreme to another. I don’t think they contradict with each other. My visualization of deep sea changes and so do the reasons chose to be silent.

I appreciate silence in both extremes. The first silence provides a blank state of mind to see myself clearly, allows me to maximizing my potentials and helps me regain strength to keep moving on. I choose to be silent and get away from external world and internal noises to gain a better vision of myself and the situation I am in. I see such silence as my freeway that carries me off stress and anxiety.

The second silence hides the vulnerabilities in my emotions. This time, choice of being silent is my strategy in reaction to something unexpected. Rather than not fully express the feelings, the silence explains everything I want to say in those moments when I lost the ability to speak.