Listening to Silence

Deben estuary

Yesterday the sun was shining, heralding a lovely Autumn day and, thinking it was possibly the last day of sunshine before the cold, grey weather sets in, I went up to Sutton Hoo with my husband to get some fresh air and a walk.

After calling in at the exhibition centre and doing the usual visit to the lovely cafe we walked past the burial mounds and down through the woodland and found ourselves away from the visitors’ centre, looking over at Woodbridge and the Deben estuary. Suddenly we were both struck by the complete quietness around us.   I live on a main road near the town and have got used to the sound of traffic over the years and even like hearing life going on around me, but just for a moment we noticed  the peace.

In today’s society we are rarely quiet. Everywhere you go there seems to be noise and, not just the sound of traffic or people talking, but extra noise like sounds of electronic devices or music playing when you shop or go out for a  meal. If it isn’t to your taste, it suddenly becomes intrusive and you find you can’t concentrate on what you are doing.

Some people are very uneasy with outer silence and in my yoga classes I hesitate between playing music in the background or being quiet and sometimes opt for a bit of each.

However I actually think there are so few times in life when we get the chance to be quiet it is good to make the most of them.

Mary and Rick Nurrie Stearns say in their book, ‘Yoga for Anxiety’ that ‘when you relax into silence your restless winds die down and you can see into your essence.’

We might find it takes a bit of practice to get used to the idea, but quietness can be comforting. It can mean just turning off the TV or the radio and drinking a cup of tea in peace. It could be noticing and enjoying any quiet moments or pauses,  however brief, such as the space between our breaths or gaps in conversations -or, better still, finding a place where we can sit quietly, creating a time of inner stillness, personal space and a chance to reflect.

Ultimately trying to find some quiet moments might help us to feel calmer, reconnect with our life and simply be.



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