Look Closely: The Art of Silence

“Silence is sometimes the best answer.” -Dalai Lama XIV

The world is loud.

We run around proclaiming this or that–desperate to be heard.

We want our voices to matter-and they do, but we are missing something terribly important. There is a time for us to be loud–to proclaim passionately what we believe. A time to stand up against what is wrong, to declare what is beautiful. A time to offer words of love, of support, of encouragement, but twice as often as we speak we should be silent. We should listen. How can we ever understand if we never pause to listen? How can we ever see if we never take a moment to observe? How will we ever learn if we do not take the time to silently be taught? In a time filled with the loud voices–of facebook posts, tweets, and youtube channels, I wonder how much we actually hear? Are we simply waiting for our turn to speak or are we listening, truly listening to all that is happening around us.

I want to learn the art of silence. To be a listening ear rather than a condemning mouth and to speak only when it is truly necessary. Do you ever notice how easy it is for people to yell behind a mask? We will spout founts of “knowledge” hidden behind anonymous tags and clever guises, but the moment we are asked to shed the mask and speak face to face with another human being we crumble. We are silent out of fear, but are we really listening? How often are we left speechless by the beauty in the world and the absolute sorrow as well? What do we say to the people in war torn countries grieving the loss of loved ones or the people of Nepal completely devastated by a horrific earthquake?  

Our words are not enough.

All we can do is sit in stunned appreciation of the beauty of nature or sit in broken silence with those who are grieving and whose hearts are shattered and broken. I hope that in time I can move beyond this desire to always have a voice. I hope that as I grow I will be passionate and loud about the things that matter: kindness, chivalry, love and in the darker places of my heart I will learn to be silent and seek understanding before speaking because there is so much to be heard in the silence of one’s heart

Sometimes silence is the best answer.

Sometimes words just are not enough.