Listening for true silence ~ Speaking to common ground

Staci’s poem, Be Silent ~ Be True ~ Just Be put this song into my head, where it stuck, begging a journey to YouTube while fiddling with internet tasks. In a long list of renditions there, this recording stood out. It’s quieter than the original studio recording, purer, with just the two voices and Paul Simon’s guitar.

And in the first line? My old friend saying, gently, pay attention Peter.

Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision
That was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

The darkness again, my old friend, and another familiar friend, silence. A splendid triumvirate are we.

In my darkness there is silence, refuge from an insistent inner voice, the voice that calls, whispers secrets and destinies. “Peter,” she tells me, “you are not this caterpillar.” Seeds sown while I lay sleeping.

Another silence lingers in the darkness, the one the inner voice calls to. My voice. This voice you’re reading. The voice that speaks from experience, but which finds words not its own, words of wisdom from another time, an ancient voice. In the silent darkness without voice, without wisdom, the void of my sleep forms the chrysalis of my being.

Not that I am alone.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share…
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

Roused from my dark silence into a cacophony of angry voices. “Mosque at Ground Zero!” read the headlines. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. So I stepped away, and in the silent place listened.

In the quiet shadows of rancour I listen for my own voice, trying to find the true amid all the truths. When it comes, my voice speaks not to the anger or the pain, but to the common ground. Cut through the pain, the fear, the anger, the nascent hate not with intellect, cleverness, contempt but with compassion, love.

I am gladdened to find my voice is not alone. Another joins in, finds more common ground. Then, another, the blogger whose voice originally called us, who spoke first with the anger; she steps away, listens in the silence and hears the anger in her own voice, listens to the divisive emotion in her own words, and she turns away from the anger, finds the way to true, finds words that speak. Now I wonder… do I hear ten thousand voices learning to speak, remembering how to sing as one, in unison and harmony? Are we rising from the sound of silence?

Ten thousand, maybe more.

The words of the prophets are written to the chatroom walls, and comment blogs.

Find the silence, find the peace in it, the true, the love, then let your voice rise from there. Disturb the silence, gently.


6 Responses to “Listening for true silence ~ Speaking to common ground”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Antoinette says:

    β€œPeter,” she tells me, β€œyou are not this caterpillar.”

    ……you have become the butterfly and your soulflight gives wings to other silent souls……


  2. Peter says:

    Mmmm… Thank-you Antoinette,

    =) I know it’s a little subtle, but what I’m saying in the final paragraphs is we’re all butterflies. The caterpillar is a state of mind — for some of us, it’s the ego that convinces us we’re unable to fly. But the butterfly is the state of your spirit, and all you need to fly is quiet yourself, quiet your ego, sense your true being. The wings are there, already.

    No transformation necessary.

    Maybe I’m just the guy you ran across who gets to remind you of that. πŸ˜‰

    I’m not sure it’s everyone’s place to write, or sing, or speak, but you can, Antoinette, and when you do you bring a little more light into the world, a little more vision… a little less silence.

  3. Antoinette says:

    Thank you, Peter. I did need reminding…or encouragement….aren’t they sometimes the same? I sense the wings. Every cell in my being seems to tremble with anticipation, awaiting that chance to fly. Not just in spirit, which I do, but in living. To truly unfold. To live one’s potential. But this blasted cocoon is so much more confining, so much more dense than I ever expected. So many obstacles en route to freedom. The silence within is all I have to keep me sane……and sages that speak balm to the soul, such as here.

    I bow in thanks.

  4. Peter says:

    Mmmm… Encouragement. I like that word.

    Someone suggested to Buddha once that his teachings seemed very self-centred, that they were all about improving the self and not very much about helping others. Buddha replied,

    “How can one person stuck in the mud be helped by another, also stuck in the mud?”

    There are no gurus here, and no sages either. Perhaps our mutual wisdom amounts to not so much more than realising, “Hey! I’m stuck in the mud!”

    Now, unless you’re a pig, or a hippopotamus, and enjoy being in the mud, that realisation is an excellent one. Because now, at least, we know we’re stuck in the mud.

    And how can one person stuck in the mud be helped by another, also stuck in the mud?

    Encouragement. And by acknowledging that being stuck in the mud isn’t such a lonely place, or even all that unusual. And, maybe, we share a few tips on how to get out of the predicament — a few helpful insights — so that, perhaps, we can all help each other out of the mud. Maybe all that makes it seem a bit easier.

    I know you’ve done that for me.

    Love & light…

  5. Antoinette says:

    Pigs and hippo’s, Peter?…..mud?….perhaps I’ve been wallowing a bit?;-). Sometimes bringing back the smile is all that is needed. And since there are no gurus here, you’d better duck! Nothing like a well aimed snowball or mud-pie for some joy…
    Ahhh,inner-space. The joy is back. Thank you πŸ™‚

  6. Peter says:


    Not wallowing… working your way out, just like the rest of us.

    Love, light *and* laughter. πŸ˜‰

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.