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Bruce Davis, Ph.D.

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This Christmas: The Gift of Silence

Posted: 12/23/2012 9:34 am

Silence can restore something within us which has been lost and is precious. In the midst of everything complicated and the busyness of the holidays is the possibility to renew something deep inside. There is a special energy to the season. Maybe during this time, we can rediscover within us the source of all the giving and receiving. There is an opportunity to go beyond the traffic, including the mental traffic that keeps us in stress. There is a mystery to discover that can change our lives for the holidays, perhaps into the new year and much longer.

This mystery begins in the silence. The holiday stories are all about miraculous events that came out of a night of profound silence. We all know the stories, but do we know the silence from which the stories emerged? Finding time for silence can lead us to an inner silence where the peace and light at the source of the holidays can be with us.

With all the activity, if we can find the opportunity to just be, moments of stillness can be moments of perfect food, feeding some place inside of us that only silence can nourish. A walk in nature, vacation, a retreat -- we let go and breathe deeply. Sitting with a fire late at night or watching a sunrise, the sweetness of silence can fill our body and fulfill a part of us that is longing. The music of silence, nature in its many voices, can open and inspire us. Silence in every way that we find and enjoy it can be our own personal doorway to simple peace. And simple peace can be a path into new life that includes the sacred.

The gifts of silence escape most people. We are chained to the noise, the news, and demands of normal life. Meanwhile, the special peace found in silence is all around us. Silence can wash our thoughts and feelings, guiding us to the place inside of inner silence. Here is an inner home, a shelter to something beyond words and feelings. It is very beautiful to give silence all of our awareness. There is a great landscape to be found, the landscape of our heart. People who pray and meditate often have views of this inner landscape. But we can just as often be trapped in our own mental worlds, occupied with all the chatter of our thoughts rather than enjoying the joy of no thought, the joy of being in silence.

This season, we can give ourselves the gift of embracing our hearts in silence. Our crowded thoughts come from a crowded heart. Taking time to enjoy silence is time for the simple beauty of life. When we are talking less, we are being more. In these moments, silence picks us up, wraps around, and holds our awareness. When our awareness is not busy with desires, fears, judgments and seemingly endless thoughts, the heart has its own awareness. It has its own language. The words that come out of our inner silence are few but true.

Enjoying silence is learning to listen deeply and receive. Instead of struggling, reacting, wanting, silence holds the place inside of us that is patience, humility, giving. Silence reminds us of being more and doing less, to embrace this moment instead of hurrying to the next. The emptiness we find in silence can be our friend. This emptiness is an experience of no-self where we find an identity of our universal self, an identity of oneness.

Receiving the touch of silence, we begin a journey of heartfulness. Our daily lives, including our obligations and relationships, are still here, but times of outer and inner silence are transforming us. As the quiet grows within, we discover the world around us is different. Our family, friends, and life are somehow more present, bright, sacred. Silence has a presence and is a gift for everyone. Sharing silence with our loved ones can be sharing the true gift of the season. Maybe the gift of silence is what this year's holidays are really about. Maybe the gift of silence is what will restore something precious in each of us -- our innocence.

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