“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
In my life, I have experienced the power of both internal and external silence.
External silence is a double edged sword; silence is foolish when we are wise, but wise if we are foolish. In the appropriate situation, our silence speaks for our wisdom and humility, allowing us to build deeper connections with others than our words. Yet, when words are withheld where they are due, our silence only speaks for our fear and timidity.
I used to believe that silence was golden and portrayed an external image of being meek and conventional, withholding my opinions when I was hesitant. Now, I see that my silence was a defense mechanism of my ego, helping me to avoid the pain of confrontation. It also represented my shadow self, for it comprised the qualities within me that I had rejected and repressed and were hidden from my conscious identity. In addition, the external silence I kept was a form of overcompensation for what my heart truly desired; deep within me, I knew that I wanted my clear and eloquent voice to be heard and understood. The irony is that those who are quietest on the outside are often the loudest on the inside.
To keep up with the external silence, I learnt to transmute my thoughts and emotions into other forms of expression. My silence gifted me with the space for deep introspection. I read and wrote with fervour since an early age. In addition, I learnt to develop the faculties of the imagination to express myself. However, the shadow self within me that was suppressed in the silence eventually manifested in my physical life. The part of me that was lost in the silence manifested as the dark psyche that I have since learnt to embrace.
Internal silence, however, is a state that is fully desirable. When the mind is quietened, a small window of internal silence appears in the space between thoughts. When I first learnt to achieve this state of silence, I observed for once how frantic, irrational and anxious my mind was. I then learnt that the mind was the trap for all our suffering – for separation and duality only existed within the mind itself. In our internal silence, we experience pure awareness and meet our true selves in love and light. Through meditation, I was able to quieten my mind to access higher states of consciousness and experience pure joy, peace and love that was not dependent on extraneous circumstances. I saw that all of creation emerged from the silence and that the silent awareness was the pure substance of reality.
p.s. Leave a comment if this resonated with you. I love to hear your stories!
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What an excellent article–insightful and rich! Thank you for sharing with us! Namaste
Everything may be a path but some paths should be avoided.
Nice post. Bob
You write like a true Buddhist. Hope you find enlightment without suffering. Namaste.
It is through the dark that we find our light. I love this thank you.