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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

An Oasis of Silence

Desert and Mountains

In the doctor’s office waiting room this week, the patients staged a mutiny. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. After one person (yes, it was me) said out loud how annoying the “music” was that repeated every minute or so on the TV screen in the corner, two other patients also expressed their displeasure. We decided to ask that the music be turned off, which a thoughtful staff person did for us. We then sat in silence.

At a recent wedding reception in Nashville, a DJ played loud music that was also muddied by a poor sound system. It was challenging to talk with family gathered at our table whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. The noise rankled my nerves. I love music and I love to dance, and I did do some dancing. We might have stayed longer had the room not been so loud.

The next day we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. We had been there before and one of the features that we enjoyed is that the music was isolated to whatever exhibit we stood by, at least that was our recollection. This time, we experienced the museum differently. Music from one exhibit bled into the next so that we were confronted by a cacophony of sound.

Driving home from our road trip, we hit a major thunderstorm. It was difficult to see the road ahead and my brain was on overdrive with concern. We pulled into a rest step and waited out the storm.

All of this is noise. It is the external sounds and my thinking and worrying. When I was at the library yesterday, Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Silence: The Power of Quiet In A World Full of Noise, jumped out at me. He writes, “The basic condition for us to be able to hear the call of beauty and respond to it is silence. If we don’t have silence in ourselves—if our mind, our body, are full of noise—then we can’t hear beauty’s call.”

Today I am making time for silence. I am listening to my heart as I sit in meditation, but also as I go about my day. I am being mindful of my body, what I am eating, what I am thinking, how I am spending my time. I am looking out the window and noticing the squirrel eating from the bird feeder. I am listening for beauty’s call.

How do you bring silence into your day? What might you switch off in your mind or in your surroundings to allow in beauty?

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