If anyone were to explain or define silence as absence of sound, I'd say I've got news for you. Silence is a powerful dynamic with the power to change your life and alter your motives - that is, if you play its game. Silence is as essential as air or water for our well-being, even survival as a species. How do I know? I've been catapulted into the awareness of silence, essential silence, so I know through personal experience. I also know by reading about other people's experiences and by comparing notes with those who have come into the same knowledge. And sadly, I am beginning to think that we may be about to lose track of one of our most powerful renewable sources of energy, a transformatory power available to all who care to make a go for it. Unless, of course, we try the experience and make it known worldwide. After all, it is not a new discovery, it is as old as mankind and lies at the heart of all great civilisations, until they begin to neglect it.
We need again to be taught the need for it and how to make full use of it. We are meant for more than physical satisfaction and fulfilment.
Silence is a commodity meant for use in the mastery of life and in understanding ourselves and each other. It is directly related to the development of our potential as human beings. I'd like to say that silence is our most essential tool for survival, for discovering who we are, what we are meant to do and how to evolve into a species capable of a higher civilisation and an exquisite culture based on understanding love and creative, purposeful living.
Once in deep inner silence a poem came sailing into my awareness and I wrote it down: ``He practises the greatest art who finds a way to another's heart.'' It expresses my first revolutionising experience of silence. That silence is inside me, even in the midst of outside noise. I can heave myself inwardly over a sort of threshold or barrier, by an act of will. But my will is elusive. I easily slip out again and find myself in the grey, busy, scattered gnawing of my thoughts and emotions and habits. Again and again I have to make the effort of getting over that threshold.
The most startling feature of the silence is that there are messages in there, clear direction, vision or inspiration. Of course, part of discovering silence as a force is to discover that it has conditions. You can't enter into its secrets if you have no intention to follow its promptings or if you just want a sensation of euphoria. Silence is a sacred space where you meet the Divine essence of all life, by some called the still, small voice. You take off your walking shoes, strip yourself of selfish motives and enter on tip toe to be led in unexpected ways by unexpected means, and it gives you the spunk to play the game the way it was meant. You begin to sort out and shed attitudes and habits which dull the power and purpose of the silence.
When you enter the heart of the silence, all you want is to align yourself with it, and be part of it. You know intuitively that you were meant for it, and you have always secretly longed for it. Your whole being is filled with a passionate feeling of ``Eureka!'' (I have found) and with it an exhilarating, overflowing sense of love which takes you out of yourself, headlong into a new venture of further discovery. You know you are meant for something great, something special, something only you can do, just because you are you. You know that you are part of a pattern. You know that the future depends on us finding our part in that pattern and that we must help each other find it, and give each other courage to do our part. Suddenly you find you have a passion - a quiet but insistent passion to help mankind, poor suffering mankind, develop a new awareness of these inner realities which are so predictable and certain, yet so near to being forgotten.
You are never the same once you have discovered the silence. You will tire, you will despair, you will meet difficulties. But nothing can take away your experience of that inner space where Silence is and Truth speaks and Wisdom leads. It is always up to you whether you heave yourself over that threshold again and enter.
Signe Lund Strong, Sweden
The front cover of this issue is by Signe Strong. It appears
in her book Window with many other paintings and writings.
Knowing the inspiration people have drawn from it (from the 500 letters
she has received), she is offering complimentary copies to GE readers.
To cover postage, please send a cheque of £10 (outside Europe £13)
or dollar equivalent to: S. Strong, Kopparvagen 31, 791 42 Falun,