Silence is Golden

While reading Catherine Gibson’s Pause, I came across a section which discussed the current world we live in where noise is a distracting factor. An English priest came up with the idea of a Quiet Garden — a sanctuary of sorts — where members can escape the noise of the city to meditate. This quiet garden concept would work wonders in the public library I think. One would imagine that this would be the case but it isn’t. Libraries can get pretty noisy sometimes. But despite this, quiet and gardening go hand in hand. Last year when I planted flowers in my garden and herbs out back, I couln’t help but think how relaxing the whole experience was for me. Digging the dirt, gently tilling the soil, submerging the plant and covering with more dirt was calming. I cannot wait until Victoria Day weekend rolls around when I can return to this task. There is something about the methodical acts of gardening which brings a sense of calm to daily living. I compare it to yoga where breathing and posing are paramount to success and I see that the reward of blooming flowers and tasty herbs comes close to that feeling of enjoyment and relaxation in the presence of peace and quiet. I meditate in my garden and meditation is one of the strongest tools you can use to relieve stressors, provide reassurance and stimulate the mind through a series of visualization techniques.

As I read on, Gibson talks about quiet parties in which individuals boycott noise by hosting parties with minimal noise. Instead of talking, passing notes around or whispering is the preferred choice of communication. It sounds like a novel idea but I just can’t picture it working. What if your closest chatty friend? There are instances where people have sworn themselves to silence for days just to prove a point and by proving that point they have raised money for charity.  Just the other day while riding the subway, I was attacked by the constant barrage of someone’s iTunes. The music was not bad but the volume was way beyond acceptible. I sat there and did nothing. It is not like I could do anything — I was underground for God’s sake. I accepted the sounds and tried to meditate away from this noisy place into a world where the gentle sounds of lapping waves would soothe. Noise is all around unfortunately the distracting noise is far more prevalent than the calming sounds which I came to realize as I later walked through the subway tunnels on my way to catch my bus. Again I was confronted by unpleasant sounds of a subway entertainer whose playing I was reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard.  When I got off the bus, I started to listen intently to what was happening around me and realized that the most comforting sound is the sound of nothing. Tuning out the sounds is an exercise in itself but one which can reap many rewards of peace and contentment.  Cars speed by and my boots echo as they hit the pavement and I am comforted. I know that the next time I am bombarded by someone else’s tunes, pleasant or not, I can close my eyes, meditate and picture myself digging away in my pretty garden .

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