Discovering Our Power in the Sounds of Silence
I’m not a snow skiing enthusiast (Hey, I got enough snow growing up in Buffalo) but on my few cross-country skiing trips, I have been mesmerized by the quiet beauty of the Sierra winter landscape. To me, perhaps even more striking than the visual beauty of the scene was the absolute stillness of the experience. I found myself astonished by the silence. I don’t think I ever realized how noisy our world is until that first time I went snow skiing in Tahoe.
We have become so accustomed to the noise surrounding us that the quiet feels alien. We are used to the hum of the T.V. set or the CD player filling in the vacuum, so much so that the sound of silence sort of scares us. We jump in the car and the first thing we do is switch on the radio or CD player. Crazy isn’t it? It’s as though we are afraid that if we don’t engage our sense of hearing every minute or every day, we will lose it.
And good grief! Reflect for a moment on the quality of what we hear? The mindless chatterings of talk show hosts, the latest mis-adventures of Hollywood celebrities, and stories of muggings on our computers or the six O’clock news on television? For this we trade peace and quiet?
It’s not as though we can only find silence in the snow-hushed Sierra wilderness. We do have control over the power switch on our television . We don’t have to turn on our car radio or reach for the cell phone to fill up the quiet spaces of our mind. Quiet is not hard to find if we want to find it.
I asked a man at one of my spiritual will seminars why he was hesitant to reflect on his life and he answered, “Because, if I do, I’m afraid of what I will find.” Could that be one of the reasons we run away from the silence? We fear what we will discover about ourselves.
It’s more comfortable to distract our minds from thoughts of who we are and where we are going with our lives. It’s scary to think that we may be tapping only a miniscule part of the potential that lies within us.
I don’t think for a moment that we flee silence only to avoid thinking about the mistakes we have made. It was Marianne Williamson who said “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.”
The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to listen to the music that plays within. Our deepest insights emerge from our silences. The anonymous author wonders if anything is impossible to a God who can make evergreen tress with black trunks cast blue shadows on white snow. I wonder too at the power that lies dormant in the souls of all of us to change ourselves and our world. We just need to give ourselves a chance. Hush! Turn off the noise. Listen, if you dare.