Silence is great.
It used to be that I couldn’t sit in silence; I’d have to drench myself in noise in order to drown out the constant machinations of my thinking, but that is far from the case these days.
I wasn’t able to sit still for very long, either. When my sponsor and spiritual buddy Dan turned up one day and suggested we “sit” for twenty minutes I thought he was having me on.
“Twenty minutes?” I thought to myself, “That’s a bloody lifetime.”
I said nothing, of course: just mutely acquiesced. And I’ve got to say: after the first five, those twenty minutes were a bloody lifetime. I could feel the pressure and the is-ness of everything getting ready to cave me in.
Nowadays, twenty minutes and I’m just getting started.
So yesterday I was sitting (as I often do) listening to the silence. The great thing about silence (as I was saying before digressing wildly like there is no box) is that it is the stuff in which everything appears. Well, that and space. And from it we can learn a lot about ourselves, about life, and about the universe.
Bird song appears in the silence, and then disappears, leaving the silence just as it is. The sound of a pneumatic hammer breaks loudly and suddenly in, before ceasing again. A whole manner of cacophonic clamour builds up and fades away, builds up and fades away, leaving the silence just as it is.
Just as it is, was, and always will be.
It’s a bit like the sea. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. Waves build in the distance, then break upon the beach and are no more. Storms come and go, calm comes and goes. But the sea is still the sea: completely unaffected by all that occurs within it.
Life is the same. Animals, birds, plants; they appear and disappear. Humans are born and humans die and humans are born and humans die. It is the nature of things. But life remains, as it is, as it was, and as it always will be.
There is no box.