The Nature of Silence

A million thoughts and ideas mock me everyday, only to come into a dead silence when confronted with an empty sheet. What to write? what to say? What to do next?

Silence is a power I wish I exercised control over. But it is a blank slate I use and misuse on many occasions. An after effect for heated arguments, to conceal episodes of immense disappointment, something to hide behind during moments of climactic confusion.

There are many well known virtues to this state of meditation. To be able to hold your silence even in the loudest calamities has been proclaimed a sign of wisdom. It allows for observation and reflection- to source minute details, tiny changes in body language, in facial expressions. Silence is in fact, a very practical implementation- and an important pre-requisite, of the ‘show don’t tell’ method.

And yet, silence is also a tool of the coward. An escape for those who don’t know how to deal with the world. A betrayal by the privileged.

I dangle often between these two perspectives, wondering where my silence would fall. I think about whether it may have dared to cross lines, and maintain even more silence in this anxiety. Didn’t my silence betray loved ones? Didn’t my silence also help me learn more? Didn’t my silence make me seem like a thoughtless fool- a heavy, soggy, sponge that soaks in whatever was poured into my ear? Didn’t my silence also seem powerful enough to convey my disproval?

An interview tip I had once heard long ago went like this- When they ask you a question, maintain silence for about 5 seconds before you answer, this helps you compose yourself, collect your thoughts, all while making you seem more thoughtful and intelligent.

But what if those 5 seconds of silence are nothing but a head start for the panic in your head? What if there are no beneficial thoughts to be collected, only sharp pieces of a cruel mirror, determined to make you reflect on your pathetic state?

Silence then, has to be accompanied with self respect, with faith in oneself. It has it’s own timing. A background and story. Perhaps all we can do is be patient, and wait for these silences to explain themselves over time.