I began to wonder whether the vast panorama of diseases that medical science had examined in a strictly mechanical way might not be the end result of serious disorders in human communication …. James J. Lynch
There are times when we just stay quiet; whether it is by feeling defeated, by emotional tiredness, by plain exasperation, by doubt or by choice.
We stay quiet and hope it will go away, whatever is bothering us or attacking our sanity. There are many instances where the old adage of … silence is golden – is relevant and has the required results. But it may also be destructive.
We hold our tongue to avoid conflict and yes we maintain our silence in moments where it is appropriate, but we also stay quiet where we need to speak out and afterwards scold ourselves for our lack of courage. We stay quiet because we feel overpowered by the person or the circumstances; we just simply lose our voice. We are quiet when confronted with beauty that is beyond description, or alternatively by sadness for which words prove to be inadequate. Then again we turn to silence when overwhelmed by the brutal forces of life when perhaps the words coming up in our mind are too devastating in themselves to utter.
To honor a period of silence under certain circumstances may be wise and necessary, we must however apply caution as not to use the continuation of silence as an escape mechanism out of a situation that could be and should be solved by dialogue. Neither should we resort to silence as a punishment to the other, in the hope of teaching him/her a lesson. There is no lesson in this avoidance behavior. Under such circumstances we create a condition whereby we unconsciously alienate ourselves from our own life while at the same time destroying any participation in the life of the other. It is increasingly difficult for all of us to share the most basic of all human truths: that we desperately need each other, that we really are dependent on one another.
It seems in the age we are living now, dialogue between people are ruptured, even to the degree as being non-existent under circumstances and in the process the heart is misunderstood and dies a slow death through starvation.
There are mighty powerful forces in the universe that accomplish their objectives through silence: steam, electricity, the shifting of the tectonic plates, the wind working up a storm long before it strikes – all happen without any exterior manifestation. In the same vein we must use the gift of silence to re-arrange our thoughts and transform our inner voice to a powerful and compassionate tool to become a force of change, of outreach, of support.
Written by Dr Magda Rall