The mystery of silence…

I attended an online meditation retreat over the weekend, with the theme the ‘Mystery of Silence’.

It wasn’t a silent retreat, but more exploring what we experience or understand as silence.

What is silence?

Is it no sound at all, or the quiet between sounds?

How do we find it, and what does it mean to us?

We were asked questions such as have we ever been, or felt silenced?

This was a tough question for me, and as I explored it I felt it wasn’t so much I’d been silenced by others, but more unheard.

Not listened to, or understood.

In turn, that led me to silencing myself.

Why bother to speak up – you’re not listening anyway?

But I digress.

There were occasions during the retreat when we were encouraged to go outside into nature (as much as we could) and just sit with whatever sounds were there.

Could we discern the silence or quiet between the sounds?

I loved this and found myself taking photos of what the mystery of silence looked like to me…

Mystery of Silence - a collage of photos of nature
Mystery of Silence. Photo collage by Ann Lund.

From the top and moving clockwise: The intense blue sky with the different greens of plants in the foreground. A newly planted lavender bush. Cream Grevilleas. Golden Grevilleas. A bee on the flowers of our basil plant.

I actually love being quiet.

Just listening.

Especially where we live surrounded by nature.

I can sit outside and listen to the quiet – punctuated by birdsong, the sound of the wind in the trees and our wind chimes, an occasional ‘plane overhead or traffic in the distance, or as just happened as I was writing this, the sound of horses hooves on the road.

Then in between these sounds, noticing the quietness again.

I know I’m very lucky to have this to hand.

I find it hard when we stay in a city these days with the constant noise of traffic, sirens and the drone of air-conditioning units.

But that’s me, for many people being quiet, or in silence, is highly uncomfortable, unnerving, even distressing.

Everyone’s experience is different.

Maybe you’re interested to explore this but feel nervous about being silent?

Try different locations and find your own sense of quiet that’s comfortable for you.

It could be in the middle of a city – can your hear moments of quiet within the noise?

Or you can explore the sounds and moments of quiet in your garden, a park, a forest or beach.

Just allow yourself to sit, observe and listen to your own mystery of silence.

Ann 🙏

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