Listen to the Sound of Silence

Published: 20th November 2014 06:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th November 2014 06:15 AM   |  A+A-


Not enough has been said about the power of silence. Silence can speak more and louder than mere words. Words only hurt, silence can annihilate. Words may, at times, heal; silence embalms. Words have been known to persuade; silence can virtually seal a deal. Silence is a killer, decimating soundlessly. It can withhold and show largesse, all at once. Crafted and wielded right, it can work where expansive verbosity fails. Delivered and timed well, it deflates egos, douses anger and poignantly, even breaks hearts. An unexplored, uncharted territory, the sound of the sonic nought has to be heard to be believed. It can be deafening, way beyond the decibel levels of the daily chatter.

There is so much ballyhoo over the verbal skills, has anyone flirted with the idea of coaching lessons in the use of silence? One wonders if it is indeed an aptitude that can be acquired or is it an innate ability, a gift; an inborn skill not many stop to think about, a talent I am completely in awe of, having none of it myself! Watch it at work. Someone is lashing out at you in a no-holds-barred offensive; treat them to the shattering noise of silence. Or maybe, you are at the cusp of uncertainty and self-doubt, and your emotional upheaval is met with a dose of non-committal silence, you will grow to be tougher, believe me!

There are human expressions of fear, love, and envy, magnanimity, guilt, bitterness crashing into and falling around the wall of silence, all the time.

Is it any wonder that silence strikes such terror in human hearts? We do not like silence; it conveys anger, hostility, timidity, menace, disconnectedness, disagreement, danger, indifference, prompting us to rush in with our ceaseless small talk .The only time we will shut up is in spiritual confines that aim to achieve an inner silence, barring of course, the audibly challenged who live in a sound proof cocoon.

There are many kinds of silence; the taut wordlessness of the hospital wards; the hush of the library; the stillness of the graveyard; the calm of the church, the echo atop a mountain peak, the desolation of the desert and the deadliest of all, the silence of a loved one.

Perhaps that is life, the occasional silence and an ability to judge the time for withholding and the time for letting go so that others can weather out their internal storms and pick up the pieces to move on.

As Emily Dickinson said, “Saying nothing… sometimes says the most.”

by Neerja Singh

The author is an educator and blogs at


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