Silence is not the same as quietness. Where quietness is chosen to be still, silence demands utter discipline. And yet, silence can be as threatening as words. In silence, you can hear the soul of the universe, your own heartbeat, and maybe even God’s breath. It is in silence that we can hear everything that is left unsaid. It is also in silence that some of the cruelest power plays are staged. Silence is nature as much as it is part of our psyche. It is “out there” and also “in here”.
Silence, although being as close as possible to void, is multifaceted. In silence, there is a potential of knowing, of our own hearts, of our own souls. It is a place of rebirth and reconnection to that primordial energy that pulsates within us all. It is here that we can access our truth, meet our shadows, and befriend both life and death. Silence can evolve into a place of complete acceptance of both the raging war and the serenity within.
It is easy to assume another’s silence and internalize it, but the truth is, it is never about us. Every person on this earth has their own anxieties and struggles that they are caught up in. Most of the time, they are not uncaring or unfeeling – they are just self-absorbed, or rather self-focused. And that is okay. I have been subjected to such silence and I have also subjected others to this.
Silence from others can feel disconcerting and have a facet of rejection. Silence such as this can bring up feelings of being pushed away, of affections withheld, and most of the time, especially in relationships, it is used as a way to maintain control. By maintaining silence where words are required, is a way to avoid attachments but at the same time, it also avoids real intimacy.
The silence of a person who has experienced the soul-crushing defeat of hopes dying has a different texture to the person using silence as a weapon to avenge their brokenness. Being hurt does not warrant causing hurt, and it takes a decidedly mature person to differentiate between the two.
When silence is used as a weapon, it is always from a space of fear, rejection, and hurt, leaving further emotional violence in its wake. When silence is used as a tool of self-discovery, it comes from a space of love, leaving kindness and divinity on its path. Insightful discrimination among their use is the only distance between “out there” and “in here”; between quietness and true silence.