The Grace of Silence

03/10/2015 12:01 pm ET | Updated May 10, 2015

Silence is not talked about much except in the context of how are we surviving all the noise we are living with. Surviving is what we are doing. Thanks for asking others to turn down the volume whenever you can.

Silence, real silence, when we have it, is nothing less than a state of grace. Grace because of its rarity and grace because of its gifts. There is silence in falling snow. Every morning as the sun rises, slowly pushing shadow away, there is a silent magnificence. Birds and fish often give body to silence as their wings and fins glide and sail, living as we wish we could, so effortlessly.

Silence exposes the nakedness of nature along with its beauty. It is probably because of this nakedness that we often feel unsettled by silence as much as enlightened. Maybe because silence is so much greater, grander than everything else we rarely stop and listen. Like the millions of stars in the sky, there is an endless sky of silence within our hearts. If we stop, let go of everything we have to do and be still, we are welcomed by silence, pure, simple, wonder of silence.

People do stop, reflect, and try to find inner quiet. But for most of us, more often than not, our meditation is full of inner traffic, our complicated lives as much as it is about peace and quiet. We don't know what to do with silence. We could watch our thoughts and feelings seemingly forever. We could practice some technique for controlling our mind. Meanwhile our hearts are left out, waiting. Silence is all about the heart! It is about receiving simple peace, simple quiet. We don't need to worry about our busy mind when we are receiving the beauty of the moment. We have lost the ability to enjoy silence, the quiet wind blowing through our senses, mixing together lungs and heart, lifting and falling but always carrying life into new, yes infinite possibility. The freedom of endless sky within and outside us is perhaps the greatest gift of silence. It is a gift unknown and unopened. Believe it or not, silence is the great healer of fear when it is greeted and embraced. As silence expands our awareness, the constriction of fear naturally falls away. As silence touches our heart, our desires find new priority. In the heart of the moment, there is a presence of silence found in everyone and everything. There is treasure being simply present in the vastness of silence.

Instead of living with and enjoying the choir of silence, we adjust to a world of entertainment, judgment, striving for our ten minutes of success. Silence and its many gifts are meanwhile not far away. Very early morning, an evening stroll, a moment before meals, meditation if only for some minutes, all bring us to the doorway of silence. Once inside, the adventure begins. We don't have to worry about what to do. We don't have to worry. Peace and quiet is the language that needs no translation, no explanation. For the mind, silence can be a passing interest or boring. For the heart, silence is food for the nerves, restoring gentleness, openness, acceptance, a deep centeredness, trust, and wholeness. The qualities of the silence of the heart are without limit. If grace is something that is missing in our lives, it is probably a sign that we are missing silence.