In Praise of Silence

June 5, 2006

I took an unexpected break from writing on this blog for a good month or two and it was only today that I started missing it. I was in a groove writing with frequence, writing down quotes, writing out quick thoughts influenced by song lyrics, things that had come in discussions with friends, etc. But then it all came to a halt.

I’m not entirely sure which was the bigger influence on this lack of want to be writing. It may have been the disappearance of friends and not having any lengthy and meaningful conversations regularly, or it may have been the decision to find a new job finally (which was a lot easier than I thought, by the way). Whatever the reason was for me to stop writing, it was probably for my own good.

Silence in all its forms is a wonderful thing to experience. I was reminded of it last night when I read a quick blurb about a movie being released in Germany. Into Great Silence is a film about the lives of monks who live entirely in quiet. They work, pray, eat, and sleep alone on a bed of straw in their cells. They leave their cells only three times a day and structure their lives around the toll of the bells through the day. And they only eat one meal a day.

I’m not quite as dramatic as them in my life, but silence plays a great role in my life as well. Most of my correspondence with friends occurs online through chats or emails (both of which are lacking right now), I live in a cabin on my parents’ property spending a good portion of my time in it when I’m not eating or bathing, the last phonecall I had for me that wasn’t work or finance related was eons ago, and when I’m in my cabin, I’m rarely listening to music. Right now, it’s the sounds of the wind going through the trees and my fingers tapping on the keyboard that fill my ears.

My life was much quieter before I started working again, and I miss it.

Gone are the zen-like moments on the lakeshore in the sunlight. Now, it’s a constant level of noise going into my head unfiltered. Appropriately, one set of waves is being replaced by another type of wave. Being behind a desk answering the phone constantly, having people approach you regularly, people walking past talking at you or to others, and when it’s quiet, it’s not quiet- the radio is playing on the tv. I can mute the television, but the radio continues streaming through the speakers in the ceiling. It’s both peaceful and irritating at the same time.

In another article, it talked about how our species is dealing with more information (sights, sounds, tastes, touch) and having to develop reactions to it at levels that we may not be prepared for. We just weren’t built for multi-tasking on computers while answering the phone and listening to music. Our lives were guided by one task at a time and finishing that job before moving onto the next. It makes me wonder if we can ever recapture that time again and if I should be working towards it. Or should I be working towards being more comfortable in the world as it is and forget about ideal lives?

I did not have an answer for that question several months ago when I was living as a hermit and not working, and I do not have the answer now while working and not writing. Perhaps the answer will be discovered as I live the life of a quiet writer at night, and a social employee during the day. Time will tell.

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2 Responses to “In Praise of Silence”

  1. single gal Says:

    I’ll be back to read hun!

  2. Geof Harries Says:

    I sure missed reading your blog. A refreshing change from the ordinary.

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