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What is silence?

Silence occurs when the mind becomes quiet and still. This process cannot be forced. The mind must naturally settle and relax.

Silence is not to be cultivated, it is not to be deliberately brought about; it is not to be sought out, thought of, or meditated upon. The deliberate cultivation of silence is as the enjoyment of some longed for pleasure; the desire to silence the mind is but the pursuit of sensation. Such silence is only a form of resistance, an isolation which leads to decay. Silence that is bought is a thing of the market in which there is the noise of activity. Silence comes with the absence of desire. Desire is swift, cunning and deep. Remembrance shuts off the sweep of silence, and a mind that is caught in experience cannot be silent. Time, the movement of yesterday flowing into today and tomorrow, is not silence. With the cessation of this movement there is silence, and only then can that which is unnameable come into being. 



Tai chi creates a situation where your attention is absorbed with where you are and what you are doing, so the mind becomes quiet automatically.
concentration, you allow the mind to open and become expansive. You feel, hear and see everything around you. The chattering of your thoughts will begin to fade.

Not talking

It is good to talk, yet talking is also a problem. If your mind is never still and quiet, you cannot possibly feel relaxed and at peace.
For many people talking is a compulsive habit, serving to mask the silence within. Without the chatter, people feel alone and isolated.


Try this: become aware of your own need to talk. When you feel the urge to speak arise, let it pass again. Gradually, you become quieter inside and begin to notice more.
You speak when necessary but your sentences shorten, you are more succinct and direct. You feel calmer.

Quiet places

Most people have minds that are like adverts chattering noisily: worrying, flitting and unsettled. By breathing deeply and naturally, you become quieter inside.
By moving slowly and calmly, you are aware of what is happening as it happens. There are quiet places in this world. Places undisturbed by incessant noise. Seek them out.
They will assist you in becoming quiet inside. Walk along the surf at 6:00 AM. Unplug the phone, sit in a quiet room and read without disturbance. Wander through leafy woods and fields.
Notice things...

Many people are so uncomfortable in the absence of noise that they will leave the television on even when no one is watching.

I have passed people on lonely mountain paths carrying radios that were blasting out rock music. They like the scenery but fear the silence.

We are overwhelmed by noise pollution which keeps us from being able to relax and which wreaks havoc on our nervous system.

(John Lash)


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Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 04 May 2023