A Profound Silence
Updated: Aug 8, 2018
"Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything." -John Grossman
Some of the most humbling and awe inspiring moments I have come across in my lifetime have been backdropped with a silent soundtrack. Moments where words do little to accomplish the value of the moment in comparison to the noise of nothingness. Moments where silence does more than unveil the beauty and sacredness of the encounter itself, but is transformative of the soul long after the silence has left. With the chaos of the world around us, it can be so hard to experience these said moments of tranquility and peace. There is little time for reflection and the embracing of people and places for the sake of simply soaking them in because we are so caught up in our busy lives and the commotion of our schedules. Being in a country however that prides itself on a laidback lifestyle and the natural beauty of its landscapes, I have been able to appreciate and recognize such moments on more than one occasion. As my friends and I hiked to the top of the Hunua Ranges this past week, we came to an opening that overlooked a mountain that softly poked the pale blue-grey sky above it. We each walked up to the rail and rested our chins on our hands as we gazed out at the beauty before us- all three of us completely mesmerized by the grandness of the view. We remained silent for the longest time, understanding full well that any words spoken would have ruined it. We each needed time to just sit and be. To embrace the overwhelming beauty and profound silence. There is something about having one of your five senses being altered or taken away that forces you to realign your internal being. To shift your inner balance and adjust. Similar to how a colorblind person sees color for the first time, we stood there as hearing people listening to a deafening silence. The reverse effect, but still a similar impact. Sometimes, the most impactful moments in our lives present themselves through absence, not always addition. Sometimes less really is more.
"Sometimes, the most impactful moments in our lives present themselves through absence, not always addition."
The reason the silence stuck out to me so much in this moment was because it was different from the silence that we think of on a daily basis- the one contaminated with so much white noise that it never actually gets quiet. Traffic in the background, a faint whisper in the distance, the air conditioner humming. Profound silence is silence so much more than that. It's the kind of silence that you feel. The kind that lingers. The one where the world seems to have stopped for a moment.
Standing there in awe of a world before me with nothing but my thoughts and breath to listen to, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment and by the one who created it. Within my own life I have gotten so comfortable with the stimuli around me that I have failed to appreciate the vastness of the world. A world that should always leave me utterly speechless.
I realized also how commonly I choose to hear the unimportant and insignificant noise in my life, rather than choosing to listen to myself or, even better than that, listening to God. Recognizing this truth, I have come to believe that the voice of God sounds a lot like these moments of profound silence. Moments where God speaks to you indirectly through the world around you and within you and you have no choice but to listen. If He can't get your attention in the roaring, He will get your attentiveness in the silence- it is impossible to miss.
If you had asked me when I was younger what silence was, I would have told you that silence is just the lack of noise, but having felt silence I would alter my definition to this: silence is the presence of everything words fail to embody. As much as I enjoy music and words and deep conversations, I firmly believe that sitting in silence comfortably with someone or some place is the greatest gift I could ever experience. With people: the ability for two souls to embrace one another as they anchor themselves in an unspoken communion. With places: the ability to feel the weight and depth of your surroundings where there are no distractions.
That is the silence that I crave. Profound silence is profound connection.