Monday, July 14, 2008

Sounds Of Silence

Sounds of Silence
By Durga Das

When pondering silence I have found that it is the original state of mind, of consciousness. Silence cannot be created in the sense of being brought forth from other elements. Silence is the place (if you will) to which everything returns and I have found that, more often than not, it is in silence that grace manifests.

One way I find silence is to listen to the sounds all around me. I try to recognize each individual sound. Nature, the birds, the breeze, the traffic, the kids playing soccer in the street, someone watering a garden, the music coming out of my iPod speakers, the fan in my living room, the washer down the hall, neighbors talking, an airplane overhead, even my mind chatter. Silence can be noisy in a sense, but the recognition of the silence behind all of the noise can have a very calming and heart toning effect. As new sounds arrive they are reflected against this palate, this backdrop of silence ... and as current sounds leave, the silence returns. This is one of the ways in which I still my mind when I sit to meditate.

For many ages, sages and yogis have been using sound to arrive at silence. In essence, this is the very principle of Nada Yoga or the Yoga of Sound. In fact, this very phenomenon takes place during Kirtan. Have you noticed that in Kirtan the space between the songs is so rich, so full, so bursting with ... silence? It is this dance between sound and silence that leads us into oneness and beyond the duality.

How does sound and silence play a role in your life?