By Amarachi Okpunobi
How often do you keep silent? How do you respond to silence? How much do you appreciate being silent to happenings that are detrimental to your being?
Below is a tip of the iceberg for you understanding what silence really means. Happy reading….
“What is Silence?”
The exposition that follows is an earnest and endearing attempt towards chronicling the various answers to the above-stated question.
The world around us has already equipped us with an eloquently worded conception of ‘Silence’. Silence has often been perceived, and, continues to be perceived, as an abstract phenomenon. However, I would like to refute that conception.
According to my view, Silence is more of a personality in itself, rather than being a phenomenon.
With that being said, let me add that Silence could be a gracious embodiment of anybody. To begin with, the divine, powerful and almost mystical aura exuded by Silence entitles it to being the embodiment of a powerful Greek Goddess. On the other hand, Silence, and her numerous flaws, make her a faithful reflection of us, the imperfect world: you and me, the impatient next-door-neighbor, the sun baked street-vendor and the cunning politician.
For instance, there are various moments in life when Silence becomes the source of unparalleled joy and elation. The silence that enables you to hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on your window-pane on a stormy evening and the silence that facilitates the peaceful listening of a song or speech, are those times where Silence puts on her best behavior, and pretends to be that person who illuminates your life with his or her presence.
Further, we also find that Silence can efficiently double up as an excellent source of comfort. The heavy silence that hangs over Church ceilings like an exquisite drapery, or the sacred silence that impregnates the rich stone walls of a Temple, or even the beautiful silence maintained within mosques and synagogues for that matter. And, let’s not forget the silence of the libraries. While visiting these places, one cannot escape this characteristic silence of theirs, which seems to blanket one with a layer of extremely satisfying peace. Silence, when examined under this light, is reminiscent of that person who brings comfort and calm into your life, even during the most turbulent times.
One of Silence’s most alluring feature will, undeniably, have to be, her healing powers. Silence does numerous favours to Body, Mind and Soul. Silence, or to be more specific, contemplation in silence, has been scientifically proven to be extremely beneficial for the improvement of memory. In addition, it also helps relieve stress, cures insomnia and heightens sensitivity. Here, you can find that Silence is caring for your overall well-being, just like your good, old and friendly family doctor.
When exercised with tact and presence of mind, Silence can be the most helpful tool. Many relationships have survived the test of time, due to the careful silence that one of the partners’ maintained, during pressing, emotional circumstances. Relationships that have lasted long have witnessed critical moments of silence, especially during heated arguments. Here, one can find Silence becoming that person whose timely intervention and helping hand is what saved the day.
The silence that is observed during funerals, or the silence that is observed in the wake of the passing away of an eminent personality, is done so, primarily, due to two reasons: First, to honour his or her achievements, and second, to show gratifying respect towards the dead. In such situations, Silence assumes a dignified nuance, and begins to mirror the character of an army general or any other person of influence.
Now, it is only fair that we proceed to ponder upon the intellectual advantage of Silence. It cannot be denied that some of the greatest scientific, philosophical and political breakthroughs of the world have been achieved as the end-results of several hours of silent introspection. Most of the revolutionary thinkers and visionaries of the world, despite being divided by opinions and ideologies, are united by a common, faithful companion: Silence. In such a context, Silence dutifully plays the role of the patient teacher, whose wisdom and knowledge lights the lamp of enlightenment amongst the students’ mind.
It is a universal truth that Man, despite being filled with coffers of goodness, is equally plaqued by evil vices. Hence, it follows that even Silence can have its own palette of disadvantages.
Silence can be dishonest. At times, Silence is used as a knife to slit the veins of Truth, in order to prevent it from seeing the light of day. The silence maintained under the influence of fear and the long periods of silence that ultimately lead to inaction, exemplify the same. Some of the most startling and earth-shattering confessions and revelations have traditionally been accompanied by an uncomfortable silence. Those persons who manipulate, or rather, tempt you into entering crooked ways or adopting malpractices become the idols for the above-mentioned manifestation of Silence.
While dishonest silence can be painful, the Silence maintained by world leaders over pressing issues is criminal. Here, Silence becomes reminiscent of those people whom one would avoid, lest should they become the victims of permanent damage.
At this point, I intend to discontinue the extensive personification of Silence, and would like to throw light upon the spiritual aspect of the same.
The word “Silence” is comprised of the following letters: S, I, L,E,N,C and E. These letters, when re-arranged, unite to form another highly meaningful word: “License”. Generally, one might tend to brush away this fact as a mere genius wordplay. However, it is only upon probing further than one can glimpse the almost magical co-relation: Silence is the “license” with which one can gain access to the inner voice of his or her soul. Silence, when observed naturally and willingly, activates the speech of the inner voice, which is responsible for the existence of Man’s intuition and instinct.
It is during fleeting moments like these, and it is within exquisite silences like these, that I have glimpsed vestiges of God himself.
We have all heard of the centuries-old adage that proclaims: “Silence is Golden”. It’s high time that we invest our belief in the same, for: “Silence isn’t empty. It’s full of Answers.”