Silence, the forgotten teacher
The Luminary Journal
By Tuaca Kelly
The contentment continues to linger in my tissues. Though one-week has elapsed since our return home, I feel as though I’m still at the nature retreat centre where my wife and I just conducted our first annual silent retreat. There is a specific quality of relaxation that coaxes me to melt, making surrendering to the moment all the more attractive and accessible. This is in spite of the sounds of glass bottles falling from the recycling trucks used to transport them into massive collection bins with a piercing shatter; the increased volume of the city pushing its edge’s to celebrate King’s Day and the unusual heat-provoked juvenile nighttime ruckus in the neighborhood. With how I am feeling, my body may as well be walking around the retreat’s lake, in the midst of a midday siesta and sitting with the participants in silent meditation. I feel good – and I attribute my “ahhhh…” in part to silence.
Silence for me is a dedicated period of devotional listening and an essential component to health, balance and the cultivation of an intimate relationship with nature. It is through silence that recalibration to one’s own breath, desire and humanity can flourish; it is a great equalizer and giver of truth; it is the leap from precipice into the answer; it is the gift most deny themselves daily.
So how is it that this great teacher is too often overlooked? The day before leaving for my retreat I ran preparatory errands to places where I have some familiarity with the shopkeepers where rhetoric is often light and playful. In one such place, with one such person, I mentioned my retreat-bound excitement. Upon hearing this, the owner of the shop stepped into the conversation to encourage his employee to go, to be in nature, to relax. When the employee understood there would be no talking for four-entire-days he shook his head with an adamant no and laughed as though the suggestion was comical. It seemed the concept of not talking was more than enough to underwhelm him. I can imagine. Every time I enter that shop the television is on or the employee is standing outside smoking a cigarette or talking on his mobile phone. There is clearly a degree of brisk or restless activity and entertainment that he is accustomed to. And if a respite from that flavor of occupation – or distraction as the case maybe – would give liberty to more intimate feelings, including sadness, grief or disappointment, the surfacing realities may change or threaten to change the lifestyle he values? This isn’t to say that his hobbies don’t bring him satisfaction or social rewards, but when avoiding silence becomes the norm, when not listening and consequently decision-making is left to chance, that seems like risky business to me.
Perhaps this man considers that silence is something ‘other people’ do, people that wear clothes made from sustainable hemp, eat fermented raw foods from canning jars with their own set of chopsticks, practice AcroYoga in city parks, or follow Mother Amma from one ashram to the next? Perhaps he doesn’t recognize himself in any of these visions and maybe – stretching maybe – if he saw a professional athlete surrendering to silence, he too would consider granting himself the experience?
While this is a possibility, I tell you in earnest that beyond claim of country flag, sports team or other association, silence is for everyone that stops and listens for it. The value, lessons and virtues are made apparent through the actual experience of it and I can only encourage you to nourish yourself with this great teacher.
Care to listen? Ready, set, shhhh…
1. Commit. While there can be ideal settings for silence, such as a nature retreat, you have everyday of your life to take care of yourself as best you can. Just stop and listen…even when noises (such as glass bottles) are in the distance, go deeper into your listening.
2. Meals Times. Granting moments of devotional listening before and throughout eating your meals will help guide your choices and prevent over exertion on your body by eating just what you need, not too much or too little. Relaxed eating makes for healthier digestion.
3. Breathe. Silence opens you into your humanity. Different emotions are bound to arise. Stay connected to your body and your breath.
4. Invite your family. If your family members are hip to silence then consider a practice together, during meal times for instance. Consider begging one morning each week for an hour or more in silence.
5. Gentleness. If your family doesn’t understand how come you want some moments for yourself, this maybe an indication that you haven’t taken any before? Balance is key.
6. Consider a retreat. An annual or bi-annual silent retreat in nature can do wonders on the system. It is important to rest, recharge and refuel. It is important for devoted mothers and fathers to remember they are also women and men. A silent retreat can be a liberating rediscovery of individual needs and enhance the relationships between family members.
Do you have a time devoted to silent meditation? Have you been on a silent retreat? Do you think sitting around quietly is beneficial? How does silence inform you? Are you a parent striving to balance family obligations and self-care? What of these exercises are you willing to explore and report on later? Please share.
Etiquette: Only mature and constructive comments directly related to the article’s topic are welcome.
Published: 18 May 2014
Tuaca Kelly, spiritual teacher, medical intuitive and master healer serves to assist others in recognizing and developing their multidimensional consciousness and health, critical thinking skills, intuitive discernment, and realizing their soul potential. She lives in the Netherlands with her wife.
For further insight visit: www.lovethemessenger.com. Read the Dutch translation.