Barbara Mencer of Business Breakthroughs says “Silence creates space … space to breathe, relax, and get centered amid all the chatter and rushing about … space for ideas to germinate … space for those who are quiet to speak … space for listeners to truly grasp what they’re hearing and appreciate it fully … space to receive knowledge and consider other points of view. Silence is the emptiness where less becomes more.”
The idea that silence is emptiness where less becomes more is very powerful. Thomas Carlyle said, “Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.” Consider the idea that silence is all about potential and expectancy and that is it infinite and unending is interesting. Speech being shallow as time means to me that it is fleeting, constantly changing and not to be counted upon.
Silence creates space…let’s consider this a few minutes the space it creates. First, is that silence gives us a quiet space to relax and feel peace amid the rushing and busy–ness of the world. Tony Cuckson says that silence provides rest, “This is your time for relaxation. This is your time for simply letting go and letting be. Learn to rest regularly in the silence of your body.” Silence can be restful and relaxing.
David Rankin, a UU minister tells us “to go deep down into the silence”…what this means to me is to really experience silence and you must find your deep down. Finding your deep down can take practice. But I think it is very important to take the time to practice and is a valuable goal. I have hosted several day long silent retreats and the attendees loved it. At the end of the day they felt that their soul was nourished…and they felt quiet and calmed. Even though I wasn’t able to be quiet and in silence the whole day…I was able to be quiet for a lot it and it was amazing how quiet and peaceful I felt for the whole week after the retreat. (Check out retreats page for upcoming silent retreats).
Silence also gives space to better listening and communication. Did you know that listening lowers blood pressure and speaking raises it? In addition, moments of silence in the conversation gives you time to really hear what the person is saying, time to appreciate and respect what is said and the opportunity for the person to be fully heard. In our Chalice Groups we try to pause after each person speaks to honor what was said and fully comprehend it. As we talked about earlier a pregnant pause gives the speaker a chance to fully express themselves. Tony Cuckson suggests that Silence allows listening where he says you “find more love and compassion enter their dealings with others. This allows listening and real communication. Silence moves us toward real communion. “
I believe the value of silence is getting in touch with the real you and your spiritual center. In Tony Cuckson says believes Silence creates trust where he is says, “Listening silently to the promptings of your heart you begin got know your own voice.” (see Silence Part III for more on this).
Do you have silence in your life?