For an International Day of Silence

Author: Dr Luján Comas

1. Etymology of silence and sages

Everyone has access to silence, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, wealth and culture. Even though, we all have the capacity to access it, it is true we are all more comfortable around noise.

Acoustic pollution can really alter our health, modifying the blood pressure and cardiac frequency, causing headache, alterations of the ear and of our sleep. But it also alters us psychologically, since it produces nervousness, irascibility, anxiety, crisis of anguish, etc. In short, noise surrounds us constantly in our daily lives. However, we need silence as it is a very effective tool that helps us to order our thoughts and establish our perceptions more clearly, all this will result in us being able to think in a more efficient way.

Our natural state should be silence, and we should only have to break it when we have something to say that can contribute to the listener, in any sense. Nevertheless, it seems that we feel obliged to speak, even if it is to say nothing, because the silence among several in our current society is considered as a sign of being uncomfortable. Empty words are like empty calories, they serve nothing but to make us accumulate weight. So, if I can’t contribute something edifying, it’s better to be silent.

A wise man of antiquity, Xenocrates, said: “I have regretted many times to have spoken, never to have been silent” and a saying that we all know and comes to say the same thing: “silence is gold”. My mother, who was also very wise, said “the fish dies by its mouth”. How many times we have regretted that word that destroys in seconds the labor that has taken so much time to build? Pythagoras sums it up very well, “the beginning of wisdom is silence”.

The voice that pronounces the words we speak comes out of the throat, that, for some reason is placed between the heart and the head.

Let what comes out of our voice be constructive, a way to achieve this could be to let your thoughts descend from the head before coming out of our mouth and pass them through your heart first, using this method, what we say will have another vibration, it will not hurt, it will not provoke action-reaction because what we want to transmit will reach the person in a kind way, which etymologically comes from Latin and means “worthy of being loved”. That is why society would be different with more silence, if we spoke abount only what is necessary, if we previously thought about what we are going to say.

2. The World of Silences

There are many people who do not value silence as an important and useful tool. They do not know what to do with the absence of noise, which is overwhelming and heavy for them, and in their house they always have to have something on like the TV, even if they do not watch it, the radio or music… so as not to think, as if by having some background noise they weren’t alone. However, we don’t realize that deep down what scares us is being by ourselves.

We all need to take our time daily to reflect or meditate, and for that, it is useful and necessary to find a quiet place to perform these activities where silence is essential but, at present, is a very complicated task, since we lack time for everything.

To be able to be in silence is a gift, because it allows you to enter the temple of the heart and, through the heart, to contact the soul. The ancient wisdoms say that the heart is the seat of the soul.

In fact, the heart chakra is called in Sanskrit Anahata, “the silence without silence”. It is a silence through which the soul speaks and we can listen to it. When we descend the mind into the heart and put it at the service of the soul, we need silence to hear its voice. When you go within, in the light of the soul, the mind becomes quiet and the look learns to see what is underneath the forms: that perfect order that underlies the apparent.

One way to connect with silence can be to sorruond yourself with nature, which besides helping us to think more clearly because of the existing calm and harmony, allows us to discharge adrenaline. Although in nature there is an abundance of sounds — of birds, crickets, bees and bumblebees, the sea, the wind…– these are harmonic sounds that instead of discharging our energy, recharge us when we enter into that electromagnetic field that is more harmonic, balanced and powerful than ours.

3. Reasons and Benefits to declare the International Day of Silence.

If we want a change in Humanity, we have to start with a change in ourselves. There will be no change if we do not enter our inner silence, become still, learn to respect ourselves and follow that inner wisdom. Humanity will not change because political leaders change, but because of the change made by every one of us. Imagine the evolution we would have if everyone accepted their responsibility, looked for coherence, raised their vibration and opened their hearts…

To be in contact with oneself, it is necessary to unite silence, breathing and consciousness. It would be good that, since a young age, we had a subject in schools that included learning how to breathe, to become in contact with silence without oppression, to relax, to enter the heart, to meditate. It would be a tool that we would have already incorporated for the management of stress later on. Only a few universities in the Nordic countries use it.

In the island of Bali they practice a day of silence every year to celebrate the new year: during 24 hours they stop all labor and playful activity to remain at home and to begin the year by being in contact with their souls, gathered, in meditation, reflection. All of this while purifying their bodies through fasting. It is a day to disconnect from the outside world, without television, cell phone or internet and in the dark, in order to encourage reflection, based on values such as generosity, humanity, patience and love. This way, the Balinese begin the year full of serenity and peace.

That way of celebrating the new year is far from the way in which the western society does it. Perhaps the silence, meditation and reflection moves away to the Balinese from the society of western consumption and helps them to give value to what really has it. But in addition the following day, although one returns to their normal social activity, families and friends usually use it to reunite and to complete certain religious rituals, like asking for pardon to each other. It’s a way to start the year with no baggage and a peaceful heart.

Hopefully UNESCO will declare an International Day of Silence. This organization promotes peace and security in the world by encouraging, through education, science, culture and communication, collaboration among nations and contributes, as Stefan Zweig said, to the recognition that “there is no homeland but mankind”.

However, it will not be enough for an official body to proclaim it, but we must become aware and assume the commitment of the importance of silence. That day should not be dedicated to an external celebration but a reminder and an opportunity to enter into our inner calm, to reflect, to reconsider, to meditate, to find ourselves, to free ourselves from pending burdens, to close open circles, to forgive and to be forgiven; being more and more conscious that we have come here to evolve by raising consciousness and that this must be manifested through our words, silences and acts.