12/08/2012 12:02 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2013

When Silence Is Your Friend

Silence for most people is a foreign experience. Too much silence and it brings up fear. To keep silent can be seen as a form of punishment. Silence as a friend and companion through the demands of daily life is usually not thought of. Silence, however, when known and appreciated can be a best friend! Silence can be an outer experience that gives beauty, inner support, and rest in our overly active lives. For many, once they open and receive silence, it is like coming home. Silence is nourishment for the soul in our world where many do not believe that we have a soul, and an adventure in eternity.

In each moment, life comes out of the great silence and returns to the ocean of silence. Our daily activities are just waves coming out of, and rolling briefly across, this great ocean. Getting to know silence is like learning to swim. We can think about swimming, walk around the pool and imagine what it would be like. But not until we jump in do we know what silence is really like. When we are immersed in silence we feel present, invigorated, living in the brilliance of the here and now.

The person who makes a conscious decision to enjoy silence slowly wades into the ocean, then dives under and discovers a new world in the depths of our hearts. Here there are currents carrying our awareness into the divine mystery. The presence in silence touches us, speaks to us, creating a knowing that we are not alone. Silence is the great liberator. It frees us from more than a noisy world. Silence frees us from being trapped in the surface of things. There is something more then being caught in the waves of daily life crashing around and over us. Silence frees us from everything that is ultimately not true. We are reminded of what is good and important. Some time in silence lessens our worries and desires as we begin to consider the bigger picture, our destiny, life's purpose and fulfillment.

In the lonely corridors of the Western mind, we often feel separate from one another and especially ourselves. This separation is a statement about our separation from silence, particularly the inner silence of the heart. It is no wonder that eternity has lost favor for more exciting things that easily attract us. Sex, fashion, extreme sports, faster Internet, and discovering ever newer comforts all seem to conspire, helping us to postpone as long as possible our relationship with eternity. Little do we realize that the experience of eternity is not so strange or complex. When silence surrounds us and pours through our being, inner stillness is present. Here we discover a great space, a vastness of peace unfolding within us. This experience of expansiveness, this well of being, is a wordless voice speaking to us about eternity.

Surrender is normally what the bad guys are suppose to do. Why would we ever want to surrender? We are told to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, to be self-made, strong and independent. Usually the examples of the good life do not include anything about surrender. Nevertheless, every day we surrender to life's traffic, the lack of consideration of someone in line at the store, unnecessary work from our employer, the absurdities of the other political party, and much more. However, with our children, partner and friends, surrender is a major part of being with, listening to, and growing in relationship. This is also true if we want to know the intimacy of silence. Being in silence, we discover the joy of surrender. It is not giving up. It is not a sign of weakness. To let go and fall into the arms of silence carries us into the sweetness of surrender. It is to become a master in the humble art of living.

Gratitude grows naturally as silence grows within us. Gratitude is the temple door that connects the smallest things in daily life to the cosmos, miracles, and the great purpose and essence we yearn for. Someone who finds gratitude in the little moments of the day finds the currents, rivers, and ocean of silence never far away. Gratitude for a moment of peace and quiet can become a life-changing journey calling us into the embrace of profound silence.

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