When Silence Speaks

I had precious little sleep last night…and I was up at 7:30a.m. to give a friend with a morning exam a wake-up call (to this friend, don’t feel bad, a promise is a promise and I hadn’t known I was going to sleep at past 3a.m.) Shortly after, I was seeing Yuandong downstairs to his friend’s car. He’s flying back to Singapore today, and will only be back on June 1st. I feel a little sorry that I won’t be able to spend some time with him before he leaves, as this is pretty much the end of our stint as housemates…but ah well. OPL is going to be an all-girl apartment for a while then…*grin*

Strange thing is, while I was tired, I felt quite settled and comfortable this morning. The few hours of sleep I got were peaceful. I think I had an epiphany of sorts late last night (or early this morning depending on how you look at it). I think best when I am talking, or writing. And of late, I have been writing more…especially on this blog and in my diary. There was a piece of writing I did last night which I completed around 2a.m. And it was as I was writing that epiphany gradually dawned.

In the past weeks, I seem to have been constantly arriving at new epiphanies and positions of equilibrium. Each time that happens, I gain a little bit more peace, a little more understanding. The lessons are many and of very different kinds… last night, the lesson was about the power of silence.

Earlier I had blogged about how I like words and using words in expressing thoughts and sentiments. I enjoy reading meanings in the way words are used or not used. I enjoy reading body language, in pauses, and sometimes even silence. But so far in my hermeneutic experience, silence is usually tackled as a blank to be filled in. In my ‘interpretive’ mode, I extend my powers of observation and intuition to infer what the silence means given all other verbal or non-verbal data I have gathered. This is something I have enjoyed doing ever since I could remember…and it is driven by my passion for understanding people. More often than not, what people perceive to be ‘an amazing gut’ is merely the lightning result of this kind of mental process…a heightened awareness of things that many people miss, and an ability to link the raw data together to produce meaning.

I have never really trusted silence. Silence to me, was the unknown…it was a void. When somebody says, “trust me” and does not elaborate, I usually have a hard time doing so unless a very solid foundation of mutual trust had already been laid. I trust what I can read, what I can interpret, and what is not expressed cannot be read (or so I had always thought). And without being able to interpret, I am uncomfortable because I am not sure what’s actually going on. (Interesting enough, I have since found out that this is a typical trait of extraverts. Introverts, on the other hand, revel in the internal world and tend to trust their own thoughts much more than feedback that is communicated.)

It’s not that I had never experienced trustworthy silence. I have, constantly, but it is not what I focus on. What grabs my attention is the times when things are expressed and words are exchanged. Silence remains in the background, neglected, as long as there are affirming words that continue to be exchanged. I spend much time reflecting on words that have been exchanged, but rarely do I reflect appreciatively on silence. Till last night.

I have never felt this quietly assured, confident or at peace within silence before. It is a new awareness. It has given me conscious access to a different kind of affirmation; the kind of affirmation that is conveyed not by words but which forms quietly in the depths of human understanding. Once I am adjusted to the silence, I am astounded by how much I hear. Thank you, fellow knight, for preparing me to discover beauty in void, and music in silence on this quest.

“Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.” – Marcel Marceau

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Lunch today was at Avenue Café & Bistro (University & Dundas, backdoor on Simcoe St.), a little gem I wish I had tried out sooner. Casual, warm and chic in ambience, a lot of relatively light and healthy fare. Chicken Quesadilla is a must try! *smile*

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