A Silent Gift

by Chris de Serres

Have you ever spoken to someone and not know what way it’s going to go?  Life is full of these moments.  We don’t know the backstory.  We only know what they tell us.  What we do know is how they are feeling right now.  We try to make it better by listening.  We use silence like a very sharp kitchen knife.  Silence cuts through small talk, through subtle avoidances.  It leads to the truth so alarmingly fast.  No amount of talking can do this.

People listen most to those that give the most silence.  Lawyers know about this.  Good counselors rely on it.  Many of us rehearse what we are going to say.  We have our talking points.  You have to let all of this noise pass, then provide silence for what really needs to be said.  We almost never start off saying what we really want to say.  Maybe it’s that we don’t know yet.  We are like the child that needs to be bored to create something new.

Silence is not nothing.  It’s not the absence of interaction.  It’s like a meditative breathe.  In meditation, we need a few minutes for all the crazy thoughts and ego speak to flush through our heads.  These anxieties, stresses, and urgent demands pull violently  and compel us to pay attention to it.  But we keep our eyes closed and we focus on the breathe.  We see the mania like a cloud that floats through us, past us, and away from us.

Then more silence.  Enough silence to let the storm pass over us completely.  On the outer edges we see the Sun’s rays.  We see clarity.  We remember what got lost.  What is most important to us.  We embrace it.  It feels golden and like warm sand between our fingers.

There is a pureness and renewed enthusiasm for our current life.  Every minute of every day our past stays with us, haunting us, smothering us.  Give yourself silence to find out what’s on the other side.