A Sufi master and his disciple were walking across a desert in Africa. When night fell, they pitched their tent and lay down to rest.
‘How silent it is!’ said the disciple.
‘Never say “how silent it is”,’ replied the teacher. ‘Say rather: “I cannot hear nature”. (Paulo Coelho)
Most spiritual traditions promote silence as a way of knowing the inner, most important thing in our life- our heart.
I just spent a week in Tuscany and part of my stay there was delightfully embellished with 24 golden hours of silence. The silence experience taught me a great lesson about myself – strategizing and being “Ms Knows is All” sometimes is really a terrible fallacy.
As I was enrolling into the silence retreat I started to fill up my 24 hours with plans- I was strategizing. Then I prepared my tools- journal, books, food, prayer mat and beads. Then some of those tools were taken away from me and I panicked. Now what? I was left with nothing but myself. My inner self. My strategizing, Lion-like self, raw in her quest to find something valuable. How can I find anything valuable here without props?
I headed to nature and sat there alone in the grass. I prayed. I talked to God. I asked God. I begged God. I was on my knees but my mind was still not settling for silence. After 12 hours of being, moving around and breathing in the smell of grass, something started to shift. I noticed the little blue flowers humbly sitting next to my bench. I tasted my tea like I never tasted before. I heard the birds singing. I saw the stars. I felt how small I was in this vast Universe and it humbled me immensely. Yet, I felt so connected to this vastness that I felt the power it has given me to carry through my life and whatever was important in it to be resolved. As I was stretched out on the grass, my heart opened and this time it opened with a little clink – a gentle, soft tingle that carried me forward for the next 12 hours.
Silence does an amazing thing to the human spirit. It teaches us the greatest lessons on gratitude, simplicity and problem solving. When you are silent, you are connected to the universe.
In silence I found the vastness of solutions, the expansion of possibilities and the openness of creating my next steps and opportunities.