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Learning the Value of Silence

By Kim A. Talbert | www.theburningbeast.com
October 14th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It only takes a few minutes of listening to another's endless, mindless chatter to truly appreciate the saying "silence is golden."  Likewise, basking in the realm of genuine silence leads one to truly appreciate sound-not loud, pointless, nerve-wracking clatter-but sounds that have value, substance, and a reason to be listened to.

WASHINGTON, DC (theburningbeast.com) - It only takes a few minutes of listening to another's endless, mindless chatter to truly appreciate the saying "silence is golden."  Likewise, basking in the realm of genuine silence leads one to truly appreciate sound-not loud, pointless, nerve-wracking clatter-but sounds that have value, substance, and a reason to be listened to. 

God filled the world with silent places for humanity to discover and enjoy, and it's in the still quietness of those places that sounds worth listening to can be appreciated.  The rhythmic sound of steady drips of water fill the air in deep, dark caverns before tourists file in with their footsteps and babble.  The silence of scuba diving in the ocean is otherworldly, and one can hear parrot fish chomping on coral.  Swimming underwater in a lake is like slipping into another dimension, too, even if one can hear the muffled hum of nearby boat motors.  Have you ever listened to snow fall?  As the snow blankets tangible objects, peace and stillness envelope the aura of life. 

And it's in the quietness of predawn morning that the clarity of coyote cries can send chills up one's spine.  Predawn silence also has the ability to allow one to ascertain the approximate size of rocks tumbling from a bluff as mountain goats meander across it.  It's in silence that the song of a lone red bird can be enjoyed and its whereabouts revealed without the aid of one's eyes.  It is also in silence that the relative size of a fish jumping in a lake can be determined by the sound of its splash. 

That same stillness of nature can-and should-be brought into one's innermost being.  Silence has the ability to soothe the soul and calm the troubled spirit.  Once experienced, it becomes not an occasional luxury, but a necessity as vital as sleep, food, and water.

The beauty of silence can be found in daily life, if only we will take time to discover it.

One can find silence and use it to clear mental and emotional clutter in the following activities:

Take a Walk-Power walk or stroll-it doesn't matter.  Regardless of the weather, dress appropriately and get moving.  Leave the iPod at home and put your cell on silent or vibe.  Choose the most serene route available to you.  If walking with a partner, forgo speech and enjoy nature's sounds. 

Nap-Nap away from main living areas.  Turn off the television, shut the door, cover up, breathe deeply, and unwind.  

Fish-Fishing isn't always about catching fish.  Relax, savor the silence, yet hear the sounds of the lake, pond or stream.

Alone Time-Carve a few minutes out of each day to be alone.  Arise earlier and drink coffee in the dark before showering for work.  Solitude in the morning helps one better tackle a hectic day.  Or bundle up after dinner and star gaze for awhile.  One can get lost in the night sky and find it difficult to return to the house and blaring television. 

Bedtime-Go to bed earlier sometimes.  If sleep doesn't come immediately, breathe deeply and let go of the daily grind.  The silence can be soothing.  Note the rhythm of a clock's ticking, the sound of the air conditioner cutting off and on, or the pace of the ceiling fan.

While striving to reap the benefits of quiet time for ourselves, we also have the means to bestow its rewards upon others. 

In the words of Rachel Naomi Remen:  ". . . A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words."
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Kim A. Talbert is an award-winning nonfiction author, columnist, speaker and writing conference instructor. She is also the author of The Burning Beast, www.theburningbeast.com

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