For the whole of this weekend, I turned my phone off. Not because it was bothering me, not because I was doing something important, but simply because I wanted to - and the world became a much quieter place.
I became fascinated by the silence that filled the gaps between us talking as a family, almost as if I didn’t want to spoil them. They became essential to me, they spoke to me, and I could feel what the silences were there to convey by just listening to them. Yes, I realise that sounds obscure, and I have re-written this post quite a few times already.
We are fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them — Ram DassSilence often fills us full of dread; when people are around us, silence becomes something to be avoided and talked over. Silence is a hugely important part of speech and conversation. It portrays emotion almost as much as the sounds in-between it, and when left alone, pulls more out of whoever chooses to break it.
It becomes far more critical when I am not in front of the person talking to me. When consuming audiobooks and podcasts, the spaces of silence are a crucial attribute. It has become the norm to listen to podcasts at obscene speeds and even get the app to remove silence as if it is something to be avoided. It is treated as dead ‘air time’ that serves no purpose, and thankfully I will never edit it out of my own.
Breaking the silence of a room should become a choice; the reason for speaking is more important than the enjoyment of the quietness. Don’t speak because you are uncomfortable with the silence, become comfortable with the quiet instead.