August 18, 2010


Wise men have written that if one attains enlightenment, the need for words falls away. What exists is perfect silence. 

I don’t know if the statement is true and I do know my level is enlightenment is about the thickness of a sheet of paper, but as I grow older, I’m becoming addicted to silence. My ear doctor says I could do with a hearing aid. I feel I can do without it. It’s not vanity or cost that prevents me from buying one. It’s that I don’t much care for the noise of the 21st century: the cars with poor mufflers, the roar of the motor bikes, the jumbo jets flying overhead, or the voices of people talking on cell phones in restaurants.

What’s more, poor hearing allows me to sleep at night. I’m not bothered by the neighbor’s wild party or the occasional nocturnal cat fight. 

I used to listen to music a lot. I don’t anymore. Maybe its arrogance, but I’d rather be in my head, listening. My thoughts don’t have to be earth shattering, but they are mine and as I sit in silence, the world becomes a giant meditation. I can drop out and tune in without drugs.

The twitter of birds doesn’t bother me, or crickets or the whoosh of the wind through the trees. Natural sounds are soothing but much of the human world is noise I can do without. 

Growing old involves a fair amount of letting go. I don’t want presents on my birthday or Christmas anymore. All I want is good health and a sharp mind. The rest is dross.

Letting go is a relief, so I hope no one who reads this blog will feel sorry for me. I no more regret the change than I regretted giving up diapers. 

I haven’t lost my lust for life; I’ve set different goals. Maintaining silence is one of them. I want to listen to my heartbeat, my breath, my ruminations…  Does that desire make me an egotist? I don’t know. But I have this notion that if I pay attention to ideas rising from my unconscious, the world will make better sense. 

Science tells us the universe began with a big bang eons and eons ago. The material it created drifts across space as galaxies and planets and stars and even as dark matter. We humans are a part of that creation too. I like the idea of being born of star dust. If I grow quiet enough, I might hear the music of the spheres that’s in all of us. What a triumph for a writer if he could translate that harmony for others. 

Only one thought haunts me. If I found that euphony, could words describe it? Or would my quest end as it began, in perfect silence?