The voiceless whisper of laryngitis had made some progress, much to Ani’s relief. The silent reception she had on returning home after her weekend with her friends seems to have upset her… how do you explain a lost voice to a dog? Lost tennis balls she understands. Lost voices are outside of her experience. All you can do is smile and cuddle… and, as a means of communication, such things are pretty good.
It was a bit of an eye-opener having no voice. The old saying remains true, you really do not know what you’ve got until it is gone…or indeed, how much you rely upon those things so familiar they are taken for granted.
Most of us have been aware of our capacity to make a noise since birth and quickly learn to depend upon that ability to have our needs fulfilled. Hearing and vision generally diminishes with age, but, for the vast majority of us, a voice remains from the first cry to the last goodbye.
For several days I had cause to be grateful that much of our daily commerce is conducted through the impersonal avenues of self-service…trying to ask for anything has only resulted in generalised mirth. The mobile phone that plays such a part in our lives became a useless and frustrating encumbrance whenever it rang. You can’t even tell a caller that you can’t speak… and it throws into sharp relief how much we have come to depend on the instantaneous nature of verbal communication.
Yet, though we seldom think about it, most of our communication is not verbal at all. At subliminal levels, we still rely on older senses. We are animals and our animal senses have been forgotten rather than lost. Or perhaps their value, being ‘animal’, is seen as ‘less than’ in some way, rather than being valued as part of the fabulous machine that is the human form.
The sense of smell, for example, tells us much about a person, long before the fragrance of perfume or the acrid smell of stale sweat allows our conscious minds to form a judgement. The smell of fear is not only real but contagious. The pheromones of desire too. Why not other chemical signals that allow us to ‘read’ a person or situation?
Vision allows us to take in a multiplicity of signals and form an instantaneous assessment of the moment in which we stand… or read the body language of our companions, seeing with greater truth than our ears can hear in the words that are spoken… though tone and timbre, even the choice of words, can reveal far more than is said.
Both taste and touch are intimate signals… a kiss or a caress, a hug for no reason, a hand in the night or when sorrow strikes… such things need no words and can go places where words are not enough.
Silence too is a powerful mode of communication. The couple who, after decades together, no longer need to speak… the silence of ostracism… the strained awkwardness of shyness… and the comfortable silence of friendship and contentment. While our verbal conversations tell much about our relationships, the quality of the silence we can share tells much more.
Our minds are subject to the continual chatter of our thoughts. Words flash through them on many levels… we can be actively thinking as we talk to a family member, text on our phones and watch TV, all at the same time… and somewhere there is an observer within us that can also watch all that happening… layer upon layer of words, all separate, all coherent… yet probably none of it focussed.
When was the last time you sat in silence with yourself?
What do you find? Is this a person you like? Are you comfortable with yourself? Is your inner silence easy and companionable… or strained and awkward? The chances are, because we are human, the answer is a mixture of all of those…and then some!
Have you ever opened yourself enough to sit in silence with your Self? That ‘observer’, that consciousness beyond consciousness… The Humanity there is greater than the human personality. To sit in silence with the Self is to touch a ‘finer’ aspect of self than the ego. It does not judge, nor despise. It cares not if you are articulate, shy, overweight or awkward… it sees and knows only the heart of you, the truth of you, the spark of Light within that is the mirror of eternity.
The voiceless communication of such a silence is healing thing.