Silence is the language of truth.
There is a personal journey we are all on towards self-realization. We all at some point or another have or will have asked the question, “Who I am?”. We seek to acquire knowledge via teachers, religions, books, traveling, experiences, etc. all in the attempt to better understand ourselves. But we usually take in that which solidifies our ego, affirming our uniqueness, stating boldly “I am different from you and everything.” It is in this separateness that our suffering occurs. Our capacity to love and be loved diminishes when we cling to this idea of separateness. Still, we just keep piling on more and more layers to our identity in this attempt to answer that timeless question.
You will say “I am a man, a lawyer, a brother, a friend.”
You will say “I am a woman, a writer, a mother, a daughter.”
We all will grin, proud of ourselves for “figuring out who we are”, and we will revel in the “wisdom” that we are special, unique. We want to feel that all this time we’ve been alive we’ve at least been growing. But self-realization is less about growing and more like the shedding of old skin. It reveals something vulnerable underneath, something pure and simply true.
However, we cling to these skins ferociously in order to survive. Our entire self-image relies on these skins. But when something comes along to shake our construct of who we think we are, stripping us of a skin, we have an opportunity to stop adding layers. Inevitably fear can kick in when one feels vulnerable and the immediate instinct is to find another, different, stronger, and better skin to protect you next time. You repeat this cycle now every time something tests your foundation. Pretty soon you forget who you are beneath it all, but always feel some part of you still hasn’t answered that question.
The key to answering the question of who we are comes only in the silence and stillness within us. If we have a bunch of identities in us all claiming who we are, they will all inevitably fight for first place. This is our ego screaming and entrenching itself to ensure it survives. It wants our attention, and can drown out the enlightened whispering of truths within us. Only in that silence will you be able to hear that whisper.
All these identities we build for ourselves will not allow you to know who you are. They will only allow you to know your ego, separateness from truth. There is a difference between who you are and who you think you are. Who we actually are is part of all of existence. Who we think we are is separate and is dominated by our ego.
So it is in silence, stillness, and quiet reflection where we are able to listen to what’s inside us, shed more and more of the illusion, and feel connected to all of existence. There is more to be heard by sitting next to a waterfall in silence than to listen to the words of another. Any teacher can concur that there is always a difference between what the teacher says and the student hears. Any teaching we interpret will only ever be just that – an interpretation. At best it is a translation, or a model. But that feeling you get when sitting by that waterfall in solitude is a truth that gets distorted merely by the act of trying to explain it! If you have ever felt at a loss for words when looking at a tree, or watching a sunset, or gazing at the stars, then you will understand this feeling. Words can never do justice to the truth within us.
Silence is the language of truth.