Tuesday, July 28, 2009

rattle and hum.....



I feel like I'm falling
Like I'm spinning on a wheel
It always stops beside me
With a presence I can feel.
U2, God Part II

Silence is not the quiet around you. That kind can be the most jarring of all noises. It's potentially penetrating turbulence warbles in scratchy reverberations, filling any form of sanctuary with the sounds of.........

Someone you long to hear from sitting loudly in their invisibility. Their elected muteness speaks volumes and leaves vibrations of doubt ringing in your ears...

Someone you want to converse with about big things but they avoid connecting, preferring to fill the airwaves with chatter rather than what matters. Their aversions seem like mocking talking.

Worries and lots of them, which have choked your own thinking until the inside of your brain pulses its own anxious heartbeat... pathump, pathump, pathump. We'll call this 4 am unsilence.

Too many items on the never ending "to do" list that nag and nag while you attempt to take deep breaths to figure out when and if they can be done.....and HOW

Even in your sleep, silence cranks through aggravating dreams where discord dukes it out.

You can turn off the music, the outside traffic, the howling dog in need of attention. You can flip a switch on the hum of the kitchen appliances, ignore the snoring, close the windows to roar of the lawn mowers in the neighbourhood. Still silence can be LOUD.

Take a walk into the woods, away from the urban sprawl spinning through the city, to a place of tranquil beauty filled with green light and you can still be surrounded by a texture of alienating amplification. Sometimes its nearly impossible to run away from the irritating sounds of silence. The faster you run, the more it echos back at you like a teasing Siren in hot pursuit.

Even when we pray, we tend to do so within a tunnel of clashing daggers. We're always asking for help! Our inability to silence the vapors leaves our spirits unnerved to a point where we give up on believing in God (he's not answering through the din!!) and we begin to fear it, thereby adding more noise to mix in order to avoid being alone in the silent rattle and hum. Alone with our cacophony of thoughts is akin to spiritual unrest. How frightening is that? Are we thinking too much perhaps, thereby perpetuating the noise? Are we trying to "think it through.....?"

Evelyn Underhill, whose name reminds me more of an old lady typing teacher than the mystic she is revered as, once wrote...." We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs - to want, to have, and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest." I believe she nailed it. Self absorbed in our wants, needs and actions, we forget that silence can be the most priceless gift we can receive rather than something to avoid.

Paradoxically, the more wearied we feel, the more the volume is turned up. That is, until you reach a point where you can give it up ..... an intellectual surrendering .... until there is a shift .... a shift towards recognizing the need to peel away the layers of human made complexities, leaving the soft white noise of simplicity. It's a healing of sorts, this surrendering. One which may take time, but one which aligns with opportunity. We can return to the lullaby of silence......

And as you reacquaint yourself to this meditative experience, when all that you think matters becomes faint, the pathump of the heart calms. the absorbing worries slip into serenity. The lonely ache of wanting to be affirmed is replaced with a tenderness of knowing you're loved..... of feeling a presence stopping beside you. True silence can happen in the noisiest of locations, right in the middle of world chaos. Why? Because silence is the absorption and integration of sound filtered through the heart and not the head. Silence of the heart is always buffered by the child like presence of grace notes.

It feels as soft as brushed cotton. Want to touch?

7 comments:

Brother David said...

There is a speed about this post that seems to be just a little quicker than a racing heartbeat; I find it difficult to read slowly, yet I want to digest it and find that silence in the soft touch.
The noise sounds familiar...

urbanmonk said...

I... I...believe in Love...

Top post Dana! Needed this this morning:)

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

dana....thank you...dammit.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Your last paragraph made me remember that sometimes while writing new stuff for a play of mine that was in rehearsal..I would go eat Breakfast in a very noisy restaurant, bringing my notebook with me...And HOW I was able to write in that chaos amazes me even now. But I was so focused on my people and what they were saying to one another---ALL the noise and chaos of the restaurant went absolutely quiet, as if it was not happening at all! It was quiet for me. These were truly divine moments.

Kay said...

yes! YES! I do! I really, really do.... I know it all and want the end!

Awareness said...

David....I just reread it and I can see what you mean. It does move with speed. Kind of like a panic attack. :) We often create our own complexities and then have such a tough time pulling away from the noise. But when we can do it? It does feel soft doesn't it?

Monk.... He's gonna kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight...
Good to see you....
YOU have a job where chaos and frenzy occurs all around you. To find that "core" calm is a challenge on some days I bet.

Irish Heather.... when silence isn't close by, its difficult to grab the poetic words passing by isn't it? I find it very difficult to write under those conditions.

Naomi....I can SEE you doing that....focused in the melee. They are divine moments, I agree.
When I used to teach full time every day, it was also the kind of program where I was coaching/counselling more than anything. It was tiring but exhilarating too. Like you, I would go to the local coffee shop right in the middle of their busy lunch time and write. It was like a funnel into the silence for me. :)


Kay....I wish there was a magic wand to take everyone to that kind of silence whenever it was needed the most. I think the key is to recognize what Underhill states...that we're all so intent on conjugating those verbs. Maybe if we took a break every now and then from the needs, wants and actions, and just put them aside, we could achieve the silence even for a fleeting moment.

Jen aka Pinky said...

Like David said, it was fast..until the end.

I felt peaceful.

I do want to attain inner silence. At least now (for the past 6 months??), I've been aware that it's possible. Sometimes I have to look back to realize how far I've come.