Time for Everyone to Just be Quiet

There's a lot to be said for saying nothing. Silence is a marvelous form of defense in the face of the in-your-facers, of protection from the casually cruel, and of release from the tedium of banal conversation. Silence is the get-out-of-the-jail- of-social-politics card. Silence saves your time and diminishes others' noise.

My friend says she is "committed to silence" because "it allows you to be charitable." She's a smart woman; she won't engage trouble-makers under any circumstances; she is at peace with herself, and there are never words out there begging in shame for her to take them back. Nor does she find herself embroiled in office politics. This might make her an outsider, but the bottom line is the last word always--she works hard and well. What she does counts. If she is perceived by the office cats to be difficult because she refuses to play with them, oh well. She doesn't allow their noise to be important.

Silence as peace and as the path to wisdom is a very old idea. Writing in Spirituality Today, A.J.V. Chandrakanthan says the Buddha's silence was the result of a profound harmony within himself and with the world outside....Buddha is silent because he knows the narrow boundaries of rational knowledge and the blind alleys of metaphysical queries. He knows the frailty and feebleness of words and concepts. His discovery of the language of Silence helped him dispel the inner darkness and void created by a rational thirst for knowledge.

Silence is thus a detour around tragedy because in it one recognizes that he or she can't know everything, that seeking perfection and total knowledge--an impossible task--is pointless; to set oneself up for failure is to create dissonance. It's nice to be silent with people, to share the road. You realize how short falls the goal that is less than peace.


  1. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Sometimes our are best answer is nothing. Sometimes our best attack is silence. But sooner or later, you might have to just explode and say something, anything. Just to keep people honest, so they don't deliberately try to provoke you to see what it takes to get you to crack.

    Growing up I used to hear "if you don't have anything good to say to somebody, don't say anything." Simple. Sometimes effective, but not always. Sometimes people need you to say something, even if it means letting your defenses down.

  2. From what Jump back says, i do see the point that there is a time for silence and there is a time for speaking out...

    That aside, i think that we get very uncomfortable with silence and we try to fill it with noise. But our hearts seek that place of quietness and stillness...

  3. Yes, silence gives me space... I like that thought that it can make us charitable. For me, it is the simple release of myself to a moment that seems timeless, without demands.

  4. Silence helps me recognize noise for what it is and communication for what it is. Truly, selfish, manipulative people speak for their benefit; friends speak for the sake of a relationship. Silence saves me the trouble of responding to the wrong kind of communication. It also allows me the peace to release the pain that negative and selfish people intend. Some defenses are vital to mental health.

    Living in time and space without needless demands (different from responsibilities) is wonderful!


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