… is the writing challenge this week on WordPress, a topic I couldn’t ignore since it’s a subject very close to my heart. Our spiritual discussion group recently finished studying a brilliant book about silence, a must read if you haven’t, “Listening Below the Noise”, by Anne D. LeClaire. It’s a beautiful memoir of a woman’s spontaneous decision to take a day of silence, an entire day of not speaking a word, a practice she continues I believe more than twenty years later twice a month. It’s one of my favorite books, small but filled with quiet but profound lessons on the power of being quiet.
While it doesn’t ignore the negative aspects of not being able to speak such as censorship, political suppression, and the like, it mostly helped me appreciate how much the universe has to “say” without making a sound. Shortly before starting to write this my attention was drawn to the sudden fall of a mound of snow from a tree outside the day after we had another round of the fluffy stuff blanket our landscape here in the Northeast. It made not a sound, but it was “as if” it spoke, drawing me again to the majesty of the white-on-green terrain.
From our class discussions I’m realizing how “loud” nature is even when it’s making no audible sound. Beauty virtually screams at us through breathtaking sunsets, or the breaking of the dawn; through an eloquently sonorous full moon against a backdrop of twinkling stars. Even a tiny acorn rises up to be a statuesque oak tree as effortlessly as a tiny blade of grass, as a garden of bright-colored flowers, all without uttering a peep.
Major events within the scheme of things performed soundlessly. No irritating, meaningless chatter, no sarcasm, no insults nor disparagement, no pontificating. Just a silent continuous lyrical sonata, a melodious hint at how the creative process works best. The proper atmosphere to allow characters and ideas to evolve in storytelling, for forms to appear on a canvas or in clay, for the birth of lyrics to a love song.
I’m realizing the universe has a more profound tale to tell than I have on my own when I’m quiet enough to wait, to listen for it, particularly before I speak a word. As in LeClaire’s story, so much redundancy, irrelevance and irreverence is avoided when I focus on listening to hear what I should say. Spares a lot of feelings and regrets. Sometimes doing that, what comes out of my mouth is so refreshing I wonder where it came from!
Fascinating how much more gets said when I’m less bent on saying it!