Sounds of Silence
Spiritual theory and practice have a deep legacy of silence. There is physiological silence, and self-stilled silence. Physiological silence, a function of our body-mind complex, is the one experienced by our auditory nerves when we place our palms over our ears and shut out sound. It is a silence many of us badly need to be able to think clearly, or even to sleep.
The rational mind can often play a role in this silence, leading the process where one becomes silent or shuts out sound. For instance, we can drift away even in a noisy environment, shutting out sound. Self-stilled silence is the silence of being, as opposed to becoming. It is not a silence to be experienced, but the silence of the experiencer, the witness. It is the silence of our unconditioned self, a silence that exceeds the ego and reaches into the pure field of consciousness.
It exists all the time within us, the answer of the Universe to all the sounds we generate. It is in this silence that the world recedes into the background or vanishes altogether and the Universe within us emerges.
Self-stilled silence is rooted in being in the present, in realising the pure potential of the moment. This silence is the template of the interior, which, the Bhagwad Gita says, “Weapons cannot cut, fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, nor wind wither.” Self-stilled silence is the language of communication with the Divine. Consciously learning to withdraw from the world of physical sound can be a start to access the silence within.