Written by Kara Johnstad
Sipping poems and leaning into prayers.
Silence is the journey.
I travel it for miles.
I am lucky. I have taught it how to sing.
In the beginning it was simply hard to grasp. At times jagged and rough. At times calming and dense. At times vast, and stretched so far into infinity that I myself thought I would lose the ability to stay with it. It was so deep that our connection might just snap. Like the twig I stepped on while walking through the forest that one freezing day. It broke in two. Snap.
The silence was icy cold that morning. Sharp. It had an edge. No snowfall to soften its edges. It was hard to penetrate.
The buddhist masters speak of silence as the ultimate place to reside in. Or have I misunderstood? Everything seems to move towards an idea that silence is holier than sound.
I sit in the back pew of the church, hard cold stone under my feet, and we have to be quiet and reverend.
I sit at school and we are suppose to be attentive and listening.
I sit in yoga class and I know if I giggle too much, the class could go off kilter. And yet I admit, there are times when I want to connect a deep stretch with a deep yawn and connect it to a deep tone.
I keep the deep long growls and sweet tones on the exhalation for my private yoga practice.Why, I ponder?
We live in a noisy world, full of radio and tv and many stories, and yet we are lonely.
Even in concert I long for the silence of an audience that is in deep listening. The deeper the silence the deeper I can open my throat. If they are listening, I know I am strangely protected. If they are noisy, I must not sing my deepest self.
Oliver Herford says “A man is known by the silence he keeps.” and yet is this good?
It is probably one of the half truths we have been fed as a kid.
Think before you speak. Don’t gossip. Saying nothing is better than saying something that will hurt someone. Don’t take up too much space. Think before you speak. Be respectful. Quiet. Silence is a virtue.
Yet, I never heard that creativity is a virtue.
And although it is wise not to chatter away and throw too much energy out without an awareness of what we are putting into this world, at the same time, we become stuck inside if we do not understand that silence is meant to be voiced. It is like a mountain.
We start from silence, we listen, we climb, we voice our deepest truths and then when they have been able to be materialized and manifested onto the earthly plane, we are emptied and pure and slip back into divine silence.
Only this time, the silence is not intimidating, this time the silence is golden. We can shape it. Move it to take any form we wish. It rides on the winds.
O.K. Silence is groovy, but I will say it; and say it straight like an arrow: Many people hide behind silence. They are undercover. They actually think and feel things, that they do not dare to speak. They are chicken and the world is not a better place for it. The world is not more peaceful and meditative because we hold our tongues and keep hidden our deepest longings.
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
The world longs for the Martine Luther Kings and Maya Angelous, Nelson Mandelas and Helen Kellers, Billie Holidays, Janis Ians and Bobby Dylans.
Yes, enlightened masters have problems explaining the divine and putting it into words, so we gather in circles and darshans and sit in quiet spaces sipping the divine.
Musicians do not have problems with silence.
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Musicians understand the sound of silence.
And they take the step needed to give silence a sound. True words can not always express the sweetness and dept. Sometimes it takes the high climb of a violin or the tap tap tapping of the djembe.
Painters paint on canvas. Writers write on paper. Singers sing on silence. With Silence. Through the silence. It is our backdrop. Between every tone, we have silence staring at us, just like the writer has the stark contrast of white paper.
Silence is a great source of strength.
We have to make friends with silence.. It can take us into the deepest forests. It can take us into musty smells and moldy rooms. It can take us into lost stars and creepy basements, and it can take us inside an owl feather or a river’s babble or a lover’s sweet scent of amber. It can take us into the center of bliss until we explode.
I know silence, like I know my crooked pinky.
I can sit with it for hours.
I have lassoed silence and learned to ride it. To tame it. To use it. I have learned how to shape it and give it form and release it back to source. I know the winds.
Silence is the journey
Where my heart it travels great distances
Dark Landscapes uninhabited
I have no companion
To give this heart a glow
Just sometimes in the calm and holy night
I feel the pulse of God
Beating in my breast.
Lyrics by Kara Johnstad
The moment when the pulse of GOD rises into my breast and breaks free to take wing, this is the moment when the dark landscapes become lit, and faith and hope join in the merry dance.
Silence Is The Journey is the last single in this years Naked Thoughts Album series.
We started with The Awakening and moved through so many deep emotions, from Wild Garden to Heal Me Hold Me, from Searching for An Angel to Blame Game. All of these poems and songs arose out of deep silence and the deep need to voice truth and a longing to share. To close the series we return from where we came.
We enter this world alone and we leave it alone. Blessed are we when we meet fellow travelers that can sense the deep oneness behind it all. The deep oneness I feel when silence sings, and songs descend and my voice lifts.
Thank you, as always, for tuning in, reading and contributing.
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Kara Johnstad is a creative visionary, transformational catalyst and a powerful voice in the time and age of transition. She is a singer / songwriter, founder of the Voice Your Essence™ Community and creator of the Voice Your Essence™ and Voice Your Biz™ Programs. She is also a regular contributor to The Daily Sisterhood Blog.
Image: “Beautiful Yoga Girl At Sunrise On The Beach” by samuiblue / freedigitalphotos.net
Image: “Woman Doing Yoga On Rock” by adamr / freedigitalphotos.net