When you go into nature it is often the sounds that have the greatest calming effect on your mind. Just as you walk into a landscape, you walk into its soundscape: all the sounds and their sources and directions and distances from the listener. It could be dominated by just one such as flowing water such as a bubbling creek, crashing surf or splashing from a waterfall. It might be the overhead surging wind in the trees. It might be the cries and movements of wildlife. Usually the soundscape consists of all of these and more.
Each sound has a particular effect on us whether it be a calming, soothing effect, a memory from childhood or evoking a sense of curiosity and intrigue. But it is also the presence of quietness, the absence of the urban noisy soundscapes of traffic and construction zones and voices and music drowned malls. It is perhaps this absence that is as important, if not more so than the natural soundscapes. The absence allows the quietness to emerge and invite us towards calm inner spaces.
It is into and beyond the quietness of absence and soundscape that we must travel to encounter the portal of Silence, the medium that underlies and penetrates all soundscapes. Silence is a primordial expression of the source of all realities. It is the source and conduit for our Being, the fullness of our identity. The Silence holds all the sounds within every soundscape and is a tangible presence of the sacred, including our deeper Self.
Silence can be viewed as both the journey and the destination, it is always present in our journeying through life and it awaits for us as we awaken into the spacious present. The key to awakening is contemplative practice such as NatureConnect. Transformative practices help to cultivate the mind, heart and senses in a way that awakens the practitioner to the spacious present. In the process of surrendering, stilling and observing we move into that spacious Silence.
What is this spacious present? I will discuss this in more depth in another blog but simply, within the context of the journey from quietness to Silence, it is the subtle experience of an infinite, timeless dimension of stillness within and beyond the soundscape. It can be a profound part of the experience of depth listening to the illusions of ‘physical’ reality we habitually immerse our awareness within.
Pythagoras said this over 2,500 years ago: “Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb the silence”. We must quieten the chattering mind before we can fully enter and connect with any soundscape. It takes practice and trust in listening and feeling into the sounds and quietness of the soundscape. The Silence does not offer itself to the listener so easily. The journey into the Silence is a necessary one to alleviate the noisiness of our busy, often stressed and distracted mindscapes. It is a journey of healing and transformation. It takes practice and dedication to transit from superficial hearing to a deeper state of listening. It is our challenge, the calling of our deeper Self from across the portal of Silence.