Silence… Erling Kagge… Book Review

“I believe silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long-lasting than other luxuries…… Silence is the only need that those who are on the constant lookout for the latest luxury can never attain…”

I fell in love with the cover of this book, much against age-old advice 😊… I judged it and I bought it… And I never regretted it.

The word ‘Silence’ and all that it stands for has always intrigued me, but I never questioned that deep desire.

Often I find myself stuffing my ears with ear plugs to erase every intrusive sound… I felt a need to be enveloped and hugged by the kind of silence one finds high up in the mountains, while on a trek, or deep under water while scuba diving.

To find someone who made it his life’s mission to be curious about it and write a book about it was a wish fulfilled, for me.

Erling Kagge has written a work of great beauty and wisdom. One feels like taking ones time reading it, savouring every sentence, rolling it on ones tongue like exotic wine, and then slowly ingesting it.

The author speaks from experience, both personal and historical, about the significance and importance of finding pockets of silence in daily life.

The font size, the page layout, cover design, are all areas where a lot of thought has gone in.

This book is certainly not a fast paced thriller, it’s a slow chugging train on a narrow gauge track, making its way through the maze of ones mind, urging it to slow down, and enjoy the ride… 😊

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Shhhhhh…..!

Ek Chup …Sau Sukh
A painful throat condition rendered me speechless, literally.  

There was quiet celebration amongst the kids as reality hit that there wouldn’t be any sound coming from me for a few days. Without the benefit of speech, I was completely lost. Talking as a way of expressing everything I felt was always taken for granted. Without it, there was a sense of helplessness.  

I started looking towards the happenings around me as one does cinema. Earlier, I used to drag my point of view behind me wherever I went, eager to push it into every conversation. Without that pressure now, I focussed on the person in front of me, on the voice, the facial expressions and the content of speech and I found out that quite often there was a mismatch between what a person was saying and what the eyes were expressing.

How often had I overlooked this vital connection when dealing with people or my children?

 As I lived in silence, I started quietening the mind as well. I started noticing the level of unnecessary noise everywhere. On the phone, in the streets, in shops, restaurants, bus-stops, on television and radios too, everywhere people were talking so much louder than they needed to. Did anyone even realise, I wondered? Quite often the sound was harsh, crass and unpleasant to the ear. Talking, for most people seemed like an unconscious behaviour, just like breathing or blinking. Something requiring no thought.

My silence became a new teacher and it reintroduced me to myself. I had read somewhere that silence is not mere noiselessness. It is friendly and loving, all-embracing, peace-giving. 

A body lacking silence will reveal its agitation through fidgeting, restlessness, hyperactivity, scratching, shuffling. Useless physical activity quite often reflects a cluttered mind….. silence taught me to listen and also taught me the importance of distilling my thoughts before opening my mouth. A calm, measured speech gives peace to the listener as well. A person talking too fast and too loudly can aggravate and raise the level of stress of the listener too.

“Ek chup… Sau Sukh” Grand-mother always used to say. Not every thought needs to be expressed. Choose silence sometimes, especially at those times when you cannot trust the words that will tumble out….

A Light Unto Oneself

It is beautiful to sit by oneself and just let thoughts meander out from within and flow on to the canvas… The result is peace giving.

I have never been disappointed when this urge enters me. It might be at the end of my day, and a desire might arise to just doodle with a certain colour. 

I  look at it as a beautiful blessing…one that never fails to soothe and give peace 😊