Acquiring the Taste of Silence
Silence is like a good espresso or scotch. It is never bitter or awkward, but subtly rewarding. Many are lucky enough to have a natural comfort with silence, others have to acquire its taste. One might argue that those who acquire it, value it higher than those who had it naturally.
Silence must not be mistaken with quietness. Quietness is a spectrum, silence is a state of being. It is a state of existence whereby one is, with themselves. Spiritually, this could be placing oneself in search of a higher being, or rather, letting that higher being come to them, or on an intellectual level, creating associations in one’s mind with limited rumination.
Often I hear in meetings “why isn’t anyone speaking? I will volunteer someone” after only a few seconds of silence. However, those who do this mustn’t mistake speaking with expression. A lack of expression may (wrongly) suggest a lack of thought and opinion. However, many internalise thoughts, then express. Others, express, then internalise. For those who have acquired the taste of silence (or have always had it), they will often internalise (carefully) then express.
In a world of chaos, those who know how to use silence, are able to cut through the unnecessary noise and express themselves clearly and succinctly. It is not that those who are comfortable with silence and are softly spoken don’t have opinions, it is that their opinions are expressed calmly, succinctly, thoughtfully, and with temperance.
If you ever get frustrated when talking to a person or group of people because of what is perceived as ‘awkward’ silence, know that it is not awkward but perhaps comfort. Next time you encounter a person or a group of people who are in a state of silence that makes you feel uncomfortable, give that other party a bit of space. You may find that doing this yourself may reveal to you the advantages of being comfortable with silence, and you may eventually acquire its taste.