Silence is golden

Silence is golden or so goes the saying.  Is it really as valuable as gold ?  Why is silence considered golden ?.  Most of us find it easy to talk rather than not.  We speak more than we listen.  We answer before we are asked a question.  We are comfortable with noise but become lonely in silence.

Talking comes naturally to us.  We grow up being encouraged to talk at home, school and even at work.  We are told be to an extrovert and be gregarious.  We are trained to talk more than to listen.  If we are an introvert, we are told we may not be successful in life.  If a kid is shy and quiet, parents get worried.  Teachers want children to express themselves in more ways than one.

Then, why is silence important and valuable.  The behavioural scientists tell us that more than 70% of our behaviour is non verbal.  This means that expressions and actions speak more than our words.  We need to learn the power of silence and use it effectively in all walks of life.  It is true that many a time silence speaks more than words.

I recall many experiences in my life where silence speaks louder than words.  I remember an incident of my childhood.  My father was a man of few words.  He hardly used to speak at home or at work and always very patient.  Once his office driver told me that he was scared of my father.  I was surprised.  I asked him as how he could be afraid of my dad as he hardly spoke.  He replied that he was not sure what my father had in his mind since most of the time he hardly spoke.  His silence was not easily understood as we could not interpret what he did not tell us.

I remember another incident where my mom used to punish me for my mistakes in life by not talking to me for a few days. The silence at home between me and my mom was deafening.  It was difficult and harsher as a punishment than even a cane on the back.

If you visit a temple, mosque, church or monastery, the silence of the place makes you feel the power of God.  I love to visit religious places which are secluded and lonely.  The sound of the bell in a temple reverberates and echoes in your heart a million times in the silence of the environs.  The solitude of the temple as seen in the picture above makes you connect with God.  

As we grow in life, we realize the value of silence.  Yes, silence does speak more than a thousand words.  We need to learn to listen to the meaning of silence in life.  We have to use the power of silence to manage life situations and enjoy the beauty of silence in life everyday.

S Ramesh Shankar

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