There is silence and there is Noble Silence.
We might imagine silence consists of a single element, which remains much the same. Like everything else, silence reveals itself according to the inner-circumstances. We can experience silence in a variety of ways.
Noble Silence carries with it a transcendental element. Here are some of the silences common to human beings.
In alphabetical order:
Eight Kinds of Silence
- Silence of coldness. A person closes off to another, ignores the other and rejects the person.
- Silence of confusion. A person’s mind goes into a spin and cannot say what he or she wishes to say.
- Silence of forgetfulness. A person knows that they need to speak up, write or act but forgets
- Silence of not knowing. A person does not know how to respond to what another states or asks.
- Silence of numbness. A person makes an error of judgement and finds themselves speechless.
- Silence of the hidden. A person holds back what he or she knows.
- Silence out of fear. A person feels afraid to write, speak up or act.
- Silence out of indifference. A person knows what he or she needs to do but cannot be bothered to act.
Twelve Kinds of Noble Silence
- Silence in Endurance. A person endures accusations, fault finding and negativity. Such a person keeps Noble Silence.
- Silence in Listening. A person listens mindfully to another with respect and without interrupting.
- Silence of a Few Words. A person says little. The person offers precious jewels of insights in the space of a few words.
- Silence of Appreciation. A person is deeply touched through one of the senses or emergence from the depth of the inner life.
- Silence of Creativity. A precious movement of artistic endeavour.
- Silence of Meditation. A depth of inner silence makes accessible insights and realizations,
- Silence of Receptivity. A calm and clear abiding. A mind pregnant for what might emerge, inwardly or outwardly.
- Silence of Solitude. Abiding in the appreciation of aloneness and the silence that embrace everything.
- Silence of Stillness. A depth of stillness. Sounds, voices, nature, technology, pass through the silence and into stillness
- Silence of the Night. Waking up in the night. Alert. Mindful. Experiencing a palpable silence.
- Silence of the Sangha. The stillness in the meditation hall. Humans resting their being in the depths of the silence.
- Silence of Wonder. An experience of nature, of sky above and earth below, and the surrounding universe.
May we be mindful of the silences which we experience
May we be mindful of the silences of others
May we explore all twelve of the noble kinds of silence.