By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 2 July, 2016
Listening Below the Noise
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I was listening to Paul Simon singing about the sound of silence, and somehow his song awakened a need for me to deepen my own silence. Can you recommend a book that talks about silence? Jane P., Ontario, CANADA
“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.”
Dear Jane: I’d like to introduce you to a book I read in an evening; it was that compelling. It’s called Listening Below the Noise by Anne D. LeClaire. Anne LeClaire is a well known authoress who as she tells her story, led a fairly contented and successful life as wife, mother, and authoress very involved with family and friends. One day out of the blue or in some kind of happenstance manner, she decided that she wished to explore what some have called, the sound of silence. She decided that she would entertain silence on the first and third Mondays of a month. She wished to explore the sound of silence.
It’s been 17 years since Anne started that practice and has turned out a book that I can only describe as graciously elegant. Its cadence reminds me of Anne Lindberg’s book, Gift from the Sea, with a similar rhythm, sensitivity and depth to it.
The great adventure of the sound of silence
At first, her requests of her husband and children to have these days of silence were met with a kind of disbelief and hope perhaps that she would eventually “get over it.” But Anne persisted and found herself beginning a great adventure into the sound of silence. Silence, she contends, reminds us to pay attention to the ordinary moments of our lives where we can learn how to listen, become more compassionate, ignite and nurture creativity and ultimately find peace. What a compelling motivation to begin such a practice.
When LeClaire detached herself from her hectic lifestyle, she began to learn how to listen deeply to herself and support her journey into “being” rather than doing. While she did not expect it to become a spiritual practice, she had to finally acknowledge that pursuing silence was indeed a practice.
Enriched by the sound of silence
Although she was very successful with many books, she was to find her capacity to create became larger:
“From the very first silent Monday I was rocked by how much more fruitful my studio time was on these days. When not pulled into communication with the external world, I was able to enter the sphere of my work more completely, to go deeper, to develop abstract thought. ***Ideas were more accessible and flowed more easily. As new insights rose from the subconscious, connections were made, problems solved. And fleeting thoughts were allowed to alight.”
This discovery of how the sound of silence had enriched and deepened both her creativity and her exploration into herself was to be experienced again and again throughout 17 years in Anne’s life. It’s the kind of book you wish to take your time with and read slowly so that you too might explore the nuances of her writing and absorb the richness that she felt.
The illustrations throughout the book are very lovely and created by her son, Christopher, and add to the elegance and artistry of this book.
If you have a question about “the sound of silence,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer
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