What do you know about silence

What do you know about silence


What do you know about silence?

Abstract from the Jean Gebser Conference in New York, November 2017/ by Cordula Frei performed by Sabrina della Valle


What do you know about silenence? You asked me, when we met the other day, what do i know about silence. You had just finished a day of work and i noticed the strain in your face as you turned up, slightly out of breath. I offered you a cup of tea and as we sat down, watching the soft mist wrapping the lower valley like a warm embrace into the evening light, you exhaled slightly and your face turned into a open anticipation, your gaze focused on the wide horizon. What do you know about silence- you asked.

To speak about silence seems impossible. But you entered a possible receptive state to explore on the question of silence, by arriving at this very chair allowing the subtle energies of the wilderness surrounding us to speak to you. How can i talk to you about silence, other than offering this space, which seems so far remoted from the noise and rush down town. I look at you and wonder, how much of your want to KNOW silence, is a intellectual movement or rather a deep longing from your soul.

How can i tell him, i wonder, that he must become slow, so much slower than any thing he ever experienced, before we can even start speaking?

I had been out in the forest collecting mushrooms this morning and later walked with my horse through the grasslands, as the mongolian natives would have called it. What does he know about the grasland, i wonder..the precious and destroyed relation that each native tribe had honored and workshipped as a regulating force for sentient beings of all kind to interact . How much of our civilization is nourished and has been shaped by the delicate interaction of land, possession, nomadic lifestyle and confrontation with the wild. If he wants to know about silence, mush t he at first understand his own origin, that of who he was, before greed, envy, control and domestication have taken over sadly leaving the world of wild to a few restricted landscapes on this planet?

How can i teach him about silence, if he has not entered the richness of natural sounds and interactions, the wild pork at night and the hawk cruising, the intensity of whether creating a spectacular scenery every day anew, the felt sense of rain on his face and heat in the mid day.

What do you know about silence?

CAN we know anything about silence, if we are kept busy in surving stragedies competing with knowledge and hunger to understand every such thing we experience? Will he understand, i wonder? What is his motivation to learn? I am tired, he says, and i feel lonesome. A type of loneliness that becomes unbearable. The more i invest a effort to engage in social interaction, in relationship quarrels (and their resolutions), the hardship of earning money and making a living; the more i feel a incredible sense of resignation. I feel bewildered amongst my people. How can this be? He askes. Am i not caring, responsible and upholding a loving relationship to the ones i care about? Have i not studied hard to requite knowledge and respect the achievemnts of a glorious culture? Love has little to do with it, i reply. Is love not that, which we should most strive for, he answers? How can you know about love, if you don t know silence- i ask him.

He sips his tea and starts to move his legs restlessly. I assume he will not enjoy the direction our conversation is taking. He wanted a fast answer and a quick way to integrate my answers into his scheduled mind. What do you mean, he sais with a slight irritation in his voice. You don t think love is the most important force we should all care for? I don t think, we know very much about love, i reply. A brisk wind turned up and i went inside the small house to catch a shawl. As i returned he seemd lost in his thougths. I could almost typeset the movements in his brain, trying to understand what we were speaking about. We use patterns may be, which seem to be some type of loving attitude, but in truth, we are used to do anything, to be save. Save in order as using social constructs as marriage, relationship, affection towards our children or parents and econimic stability, but very little of that immense effort we invest in such, has to do with love, i said. He is angry now, but he does not want to show it. Being angry is against his agenda to be a kind and compassionate man. I can feel his tension in my own stomach and feel sad not to be able to offer him a easier path in the direction our conversation is taking. We watch the cows peacefully grassing and for a moment i see his face ease, observing their simple life. He is quiet for some time then looks at me firmly, asking: What then, if that is true what you say, can be my motivation to love? If it is all based on social interaction to grant me security, sexual availabilities, financial resources, warmth and shelter- if all that doesn t count as you suggest, what can be a motivation to love? I am pouring him another cup of tea and wait for the words to come up from the quiet emptiness i feel inside.

How can there be words for such a question?

I speak slow, as i wait for thought lines to formulate. You see, love- in my experience simply IS. She does not await or deserve or require any of your given efforts. She is. As close to you, as a fabric of all life energy, we may not even know her true face anymore. So used, that it a hardship to aquire, a emotional quest, a matter of good character or compassion. How can i explain the simplicity in the effortless of being love?

I pause and recall another discussion earlier in the day, were a friend had adressed a conflict she was carrying as a tension. She wanted resolution, tossing things out in the open, puttting the conflict on the table, as she said, demanding my response. I had listend for as long as it took to find if within silence there was a need or want to engage in that so seemingly loaded conflict.

There was silence.

I had noticed the small effort of parts of my self, wanting to defend, explain or quarrel. Silence wrapped me in her breath, feeling the pain of the other and her need to resolve, yet in a transparent way i could offer nothing than my availabilty to be there, beyond words, trusting silence in each one of us to direct towards that place of self reference, were surely a root and cause of that superficial conflict could be traced.

Sometimes we must wait very long, until that deep image turns up, which so eagerly feeds our human need to create struggle and drama. Were is love in that?

The raw wilderness which surrounds me has become a perfect mirror, not carrying in or out any emotional structures loaded from a unresolved past. There is dialogue. With the wind, or the trees, the change of hours during the day, the welcoming of a new season it is subtle dynamic. I look at him and ask him: How is your relation to your self? He is puzzled. What do you mean, to my self? I am no egomanic narcist thinking about a relation to my own state of mind: must i not much rather care about the struggles and needs of those around? How can you? i ask. How can you, if you are so busy interacting to the load of information, the speed, the ongoing pressure from emotionally charged and unaware dynamics that surround you, how can you KNOW anything, if you don t know silence? So you suggest, if i knew silence, i could love deeper? He likes that thougth. In a way, he feels he has a motivation now, to do something, so he will develop into a better person. I shrug. In silence, we have ended, to do anything, in order to achieve any specific outcome. Do you hear me? If you want to find silence, if you want to become transparent to the deep vibration of love and light that nurtures any sentient movement on this planet, you must begin observing what separates you, from silence. ( I know, this is hard work. As much as before he seemed to enjoy the possibility of learning to love better, he now freezes in defense). Observe what seperates me from silence- he replies angrily? How shall that be? I gently point out, that observing the anger rising, the tightness of his chest, the way he tightend his muscles when hearing something that was new to him, was a simple exercise, how to track this wondersome line to our inward space of peace. Will he understand, that this is the beginning of a relation towards him self? Can he possibly trust his own wisdom and felt experience, that every time he choose a subtle observation on his discomfort, he could easily find the deeper state, there were silence resides? Do we fear silence?

Artwork Carter Murdoch

What is your way, to enter silence? What do we know, about silence….

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