Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Strange, Beautiful Texture of Silence

It's funny how you read about an idea that makes a huge impact on you and then that same idea pops up in everything else you are reading.  That's what has happened to me about the subject of silence/meditation.  It's not that I was unfamiliar with the concept, it's just that I have a new depth of understanding of it because it is being presented to me from several different sources.

For years now I have been upset by the intrusion of electronic media into my daily life.  My first memory of being disturbed by it was at an aquarium in New Orleans.  I'm guessing this was in the early 90s.  We had to wait in long lines, and I was dismayed to find television sets hanging above our heads.  I did not want my thoughts to be directed against my will.  Now this electronic intrusion has progressed to the point of being attacked by commercials via the gas pump.

Here is a marvelous quote from The Chosen by Chaim Potok.  Danny Saunders, a college-age Hasidic Jew,  explains silence to his friend Reuven:

"You can listen to silence, Reuven.  I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it.  It has a quality and a dimension all its own.  It talks to me sometimes.  I feel myself alive in it.  It talks.  And I can hear it. . .You have to want to listen to it, and then you can hear it.  It has a strange, beautiful texture.  It doesn't always talk.  Sometimes--sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it.  It hurts to listen to it then.  But you have to."

This idea is expanded in A Guide for the Perplexed by E. F. Schumacher.  I'll write about it next time.

2 comments:

Fotofule said...

Excellent, Wendy. How many people in the world will never know the pure bliss of lying in a meadow or sitting ion a log in the woods, just listening to the world around them, then feeling themselves a part of it.

Tom said...

All being drawn away from reality, and being quietly placed into a fantasy world. Alot of people listen to talk radio and think that makes them intellectual and part of something bigger..

Then he goes home to his nice clean house (A very nice house I might add; in an up an coming sub-division with a little tree in the front yard.),

and his 2 children (very nice children I might add Robert 15, and Tina 14. Robert plays baseball, and football, and all the girls are crazy about him. And Tina plays volleyball, and loves to hang out at the pool and beach, with her friends, and has a boy friend who loves her very much.)

Then he sits down and watches T.V. While his second wife, heats up Uncle Ben's ready rice in the microwave for dinner.

The American Dream: "Because reality just isn't good enough!"

Yes, Mrs. Haught I agree. we are living in a manufactured reality, and the world does it's best to keep us in it by always distracting us, usually with entertainment, so we don't even think, or know, to venture outside of it. Modernism is wonderfully good at that, They make everyone an agnostic and the rest is easy.