Keeping quiet is an art..

..that is perhaps never taught to us. Yes, we are shut up many times and we do that to our kids too when the we do not wish to hear what is being said at that time. But, knowing when to keep quiet and being comfortable in quietude does not come easily to all. Vacations in the lap of nature is turned into a check-list of sorts to be ticked off in a hurry just so to revel in the knowing of having seen the must-sees. Who has ever heard of someone who takes a vacation to just be with oneself, aside from the Vipassana camps?


How many of us appreciate or understand the beauty of silence? Even when someone is talking to us, we are not listening silently. We are busy thinking of our response or delving into our knowledge repository for a more intelligent piece of information to share. And, talking over the phone, needs a separate set of etiquette. I, for myself, am guilty of quipping something before the other has had a chance to complete. Imagine, someone is about to end his part as a question but you have idiotically uttered something prematurely making you look like a complete fool. Yes, I have landed myself in embarrassing situations, so. I have cringed and blushed when I have replayed the conversation in my mind many times later.


If silence is good for the wise, how much better is it for the foolish!
IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

Silence is, paradoxically, the art of speaking. A necessary virtue to carry out a conversation. Two people can truly enjoy some moments in peaceful (note the word) silence when they are into a secure and comfortable relationship that does not always need words to express thoughts. When you are truly silent you can listen effectively. Very often we only hear and not listen because we are thinking a hundred things even when our mouths are shut. Selective hearing is what we do because we are rushed to get to the part that may be of interest to us. As a contrast I have also seen couples at restaurants who don't talk to one another, staring into the space blankly or fidgeting with their respective gadgets while the child is running amok near-by. The silence between them is ostensibly not that of comfort. I shudder at the nature of such silences and pray to the Lord to keep these away from the lives of my partner and mine.


A small silence came between us, as precise as a picture hanging on the wall.
                                                                                 Jean Stafford

A person who is by nature a reserved and contemplative person doesn't feel the urge to make small talk with another who is perhaps unnerved by the stillness of the atmosphere. The same situation appears different to different persons. One takes it as an opportunity to reflect and be in the moment while the other is discomforted and at unease with the calm. Coming to face with the inner self requires courage and in the absence of courage, people fill their lives with noise all around, to escape the silence in the din.




“Silence can often be more disturbing than noise, it reveals the complicated mechanism of our thoughts”
                                                                                                ― Jose Rodrigues Migueis

Leaving you with a song that I love for its lyrics....



43 comments:

  1. Silence is magical...I agree to you. And when that silence is understood the relationship also becomes magical. I love taking my own silent breaks once in a while where I am all by myself surrounded with pin drop silence. It helps me hear what my heart is saying. I usually do this when I am very upset and confused.

    Lovely post!

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    1. Yes, some silent moments does help one to get sorted out in the mind.
      thanks, Me! :-)

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  2. Nice post Uma ..
    Am one of those people who love silence but am an extremist in that .. I cant tolerate the sound of television and am simply amazed by people who switch it on as soon as they wake up in the morning!!
    And I simply hate my silent times being disturbed .. My early morning coffee at the terrace with just the rustle of the winds and sound of the birds .. My morning prayer time .. They are very precious to me ..

    And not everyone can understand how blissful it is to be with your ownself .. Only today morning, while I was sitting in the terrae with coffee, a family in the nearby building gathered in their balcony and statred commenting loudly .. 'Evlo neram coffee kudikara .. coffee aariye poidum .. Adhu enna kalankarthaala thaniya okandhu ivlo nream coffee .. blah blah blah .. '
    The best part is I dont even know them :)
    Not only do they not realise the value of the green and peaceful locality, they cant tolerate another person enjoying it either!

    The Katrin Mozhi song is one of my favorites .. That movie is one of those rare sensible ones made in Tamil ..

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    1. oh how rude of those nosy people! I hate the television early in the morning too!
      looks like we not only have strong telepathy but also some similar traits..are you a Virgo by any chance? Strangely enough, I people I have connected the best over the blogosphere are incidentally Virgoans :-)
      I loved the movie Mozhi!
      Please do your take on this topic..am sure it would be very refreshing.

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  3. And some telepathy is at work between us for sure :)
    Only today morning, after what happened at the terrace, I thought I should write a post about the joys of being with onself in silence and how it seems to be not so prevelent.
    And here you are!!

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  4. So true! AS though there wasn't enough noise in our lives to begin with, now we have technology to contend with.
    My dad taught both the kids to "meditate"with eyes closed this time - they have to stay still for a full 5 mins without talking. The way advaith scrunches up his face while doing it, u'd think he was in great pain :)

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    1. Lol on Ads reaction..but 5 mins is a huge time for kids :-)
      we have become slaves of technology..one day without the net is enough to make me fidgety :-(

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  5. Well written.... it is an art to also know when to remain silent!

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  6. I wrote about silence too...

    http://maidinmalaysia.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/more-kl-love/


    i can't believe how important it is to me.
    I used to be on the phone ALL the time...surrounded by a gaggle of friends, appointments, invitations, things to do, blah blah...

    I cringe at that life,
    I dont have a handphone, I have one very special friend and I even switch off the fan to really hear the quiet here in KL... and how beautiful it is:-)

    have to click on the like button, now.

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    1. read your post and commented, MiM. Thanks a bunch and welcome here :-)

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  7. A contemplative post....I am one of those who talk a lot and listen less. Often, I feel bad about it and wan to learn the art of keeping quiet. Again, talking less and keeping quiet are two diff. Things. People who talk less are mostly silent too. And I hate it when they are silent in expressing their thoughts, emotions, feelings ...yet, I agree there is an inner peace in silence.

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    1. true, talking less and keeping quiet are two different things. Being peaceful in silence is different from not expressing your thoughts when needed. There is a fine line there, FiF.

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  8. I am a very talkative person! I love being on the phone but there are times when I actually tell my friend, "I am tired of talking. I am tired of listening. Let's just hang up!" I think after a point, I need silence for some time at least.
    My best friend and I love visiting Marine Drive together in Bombay - whenever we meet, we just exchange a simple "Hi" and then go and sit watching the waves lash the shore...We do not feel the need to speak and after some time when we get up, it does not feel awkward at all. I think you can say you are truly alright being with someone when both of you are alright with silence!

    Being a counsellor, I think despite my talkative nature, I do have to listen and I take pride in saying that I am a good active listener :) :) Of course, initially it was difficult, but with time, I've become good at it - I Realized that I hated it when people interrupted me when I was speaking...therefore, I try not doing the same to others!

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    1. Lol on being tired of talking. Yes, a counsellor's strong point is to be an effective listener. Am glad to know that you are able to maintain the fine balance :-)

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  9. Well I am very quiet person, I can that , I love talking to sometimes but generally I can spend hours and hours not saying anything ..

    and as you say even not saying a word sometimes can say a lot ..

    they do say silence is golden .. One can say a lot without saying anything ..

    Bikram's

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    1. yes, silence often says unspoken things, Bikram.

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  10. I thought the comment would get too lengthy.. So I wrote a post instead!
    http://lifesaboutexperiences.blogspot.in/2012/07/being-silent.html

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    1. On my way to read your post...

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  11. I have written on silence in my reflections blog but not so brilliantly as you have done.The pics are apt

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    1. Thank you so much, sir for the kind words. Can you send me a link to your post?

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  12. So true Uma. You have explored the many facets of silence as a virtue,and I found myself nodding my head so many times. I admire people who can calmly listen and then offer a view or maybe just a simple smile. Why do we need to talk so much -- either openly or in our mind?

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    1. am glad Rachna that my thoughts resonates with yours :-)

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  13. A very meaningful post Uma:) God gave us two ears and one tongue to maintain the hear/ speak ratio accordingly:)

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    1. thank you, Rahulji! exactly..not many understand the ratio :-)

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  14. Hi

    Very true...Silence is golden..And I love that song too ...What lyrics!

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    1. that song seems to be a favourite with many of us, no?

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  15. Lovely post Uma. Silence is certainly a virute that does not come easily. And being happy in that silence without the compulsion to speak is even a greater challenge.

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    1. thank you, Jas..yes, it is definitely a virtue that is becoming a rarity too :-)

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  16. Isn't it also interesting that only if we can 'listen' can we be good conversationalists? :)

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    1. I know, its paradoxical, right?? :-)

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  17. OMG, so many posts, and I didn't get an update :-(
    Will come back later, love that song and of cousre the movie too :-)

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    1. awww...it's ok, Bindu..blame Blogger :-(
      that song is a hit with many of us..and even I lovvvved the movie..watched it so many times :-)

      Delete
  18. "Even when someone is talking to us, we are not listening silently. We are busy thinking of our response or delving into our knowledge repository for a more intelligent piece of information to share."

    haha... I was thinkin abt wat I was goin to comment as I was reading ur post.. ;)

    On a serious note... I always did and still give myself the alone time... There sure is bliss in silence too... n I am happy n thankful for the relationships in my life which require no words to be spoken.

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    1. hahahaha...i do that too...keep thinking about what to comment ;-)
      It's really nice that you give yourself the me-time. It is so necessary..
      and yay to the lovely relationships! touchwood!

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  19. Great post Uma. Loved the line, silence is paradoxically the art of speaking. My favorite memories are just being with people I like, and not necessarily having to talk. My husband and me enjoy this comfortable silence when we are together. In fact, we get up earlier on weekends to enjoy it before it gets invaded:-) And some conversations are only noise, not to mention the TV, traffic, etc.

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    1. thanks, Vibha :-) Lovely that you share a comfortable zone of silence. And, even lovely that you guys make the effort to rise early to enjoy that :-)))

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  20. Sometimes I never realize what I think about these topics till I see your posts ;). I can sooo understand that bit about interrupting and saying something before the other person is done (and formulating the reply in your mind all along half-listening). I try hard to watch out for it now, but still end up doing it !!

    Silence though.. I don't quite know what it is like I think. If not external noise, there is always this stream of thoughts running in my head ;) !!

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    1. aww..you are sweet to say that.
      Any shift in the mundane and I find it difficult to tune off and make peace with it. I have lost sleep over trivial issues too :-(

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  21. Lovely blog. Being silent is an art for which there is no training. Will read ur other blogs too.

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    1. thank you so much, Gopinath and welcome here :-)
      hope you enjoy reading the other posts too..:-)

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    ReplyDelete

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