“The Sound of Silence” by Musa Askari

One day a disciple, whose hearing was beginning to fade, asked his master about “sound”. He knew it would be one of the last times he could hear his master’s voice. He wished to take that voice with him on his journey into the realm of silence.

The master replied, “I can see that, given your situation, you are now fully attentive. But why has it taken so long to bring you to a state of such seriousness? Had you listened more closely when your hearing was not impaired, you would not be so anxious now. Is it not so that man was created to listen? What is the use of sound if not to be heard? As you hear the sound of your own voice, remember it is the sound of your Soul.”

The master continued, “There are some sounds that must be silenced and others nurtured. We in our ignorance and ingratitude have equated “presence” solely with sound. The sound of silence into which you are about to enter is not to be understood as a burden but a liberation. It is in such silence that the Divine Command is uttered perhaps. Think of this and rejoice.”

That night as his hearing slipped away he had a dream. He saw a lake of immense proportions, perfectly still. Above him the clouds were racing by at great speed. His heart was beating fast at some strange excitement. By the same swiftness with which they had come the clouds departed leaving him deafened by the sound of his runaway heart! His eyes remained closed.

Before him a single raindrop was descending from the heavens. The sound of its descent was like the song of the peacock, sad and melancholic. He was witnessing the descent of his own Soul! As the drop reached the lake’s surface the sun was rising upon the horizon. When reaching to half its ascent the sun rose no further. The image falling on the water gave the appearance that it had risen fully, embodied and yet unembodied, reality of the sun and its image upon the water. The drop had now pierced the water. Ripples were forming and being sustained by that same drop which was now like a beating heart until the whole lake was covered by a tide of ripples emanating from one drop. This was what life could be without sound he thought and rejoiced!

By Musa Askari (penned 1992).

11 thoughts on ““The Sound of Silence” by Musa Askari”

  1. Beautiful. We tend to value things more when we’re loosing them. I love the idea that a deeper connection within is based on the sound of silence. It’s in the space between the words and the space between the thoughts that we find ourselves.
    Loving blessings!

  2. It’s very true that we take so much for granted until it’s gone forever. I like the “we equate presence solely with sound.” This makes me think of monastic orders that take vows of silence to heighten their ability for reflection and prayer. And what powerful images in this story! It is quite complex and layered – something one has to think about quite a lot. A water drop falling into a lake would be quite free of sound to human ears, and yet it causes ripples (like sound waves) throughout the lake. Another thought I had while reading this was that Deaf people do not feel “disabled” by their lack of hearing, but instead feel it is a unique gift in a way, since it connects them as a community and gives them a cultural identity as speakers of signed languages.

  3. Musa – this speaks to me this weekend. I came home from work on Friday with too much noise in my head. A homeless man talking about hopelessness and hope to me on the phone. Another, previously-homeless man flew 2000 miles to talk with Noam, only to find me. It was painful to hear his delusional thoughts and I was saddened by his state of constant inner torture. It seemed that nothing I said offered him peace, and when I realized this, I fell silent and listened. Noam is leaving for Europe tomorrow, and after hundreds of e-mails in just three days finalizing plans, I went home craving silence.

    Back to meditation. Thanks for reminding me to listen to my own soul. Otherwise, we can’t be there for anyone.

    I think this is why we love our pets so much – pure love, all in silence.

    Bev

  4. Thank you everyone for wonderful, insightful comments. I have much in return. For that I am grateful. So pleased you like this reflection written some twenty years ago. Musa

  5. This is beautiful! It reminds me of Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence, when she says that one needs to silence the external sounds in order to listen to the inner voice. We are so overwhelmed by the outside world that we hardly ever pay attention to the soul imprisoned by the senses. Thanks for this. Good night😉

  6. I have enjoyed reading your beautifully written article Musa. I feel that the sound that we believe is silence, is in fact the sound of the ‘Music of the Spheres’. I’ve read that Pythagoras taught that his outer-circle students had to vow to five years of silence before they could progress to inner-circle students. Perhaps this encouraged them to focus on the sound of the Universe. I’m sure they learnt a great deal by being silent for so long and I feel that many would have also experienced what you have so eloquently spoken of in this article.

  7. I felt – listening is very important – we tend not to listen well … silence is vital – and we tend to be uncomfortable at the idea of it!

  8. It’s exactly like that. I used to speed through my days, never content, always in a rush to get from one point to the other. It wasn’t until I went deaf and learned to slow down and quiet the noise in my head, that I was able to hear my heart speak. The world opened up into a visual europhia.

    The silence frightened me at night, and I refused to close my eyes as it would meld with the darkness. These days I reach over and feel the heartbeat of my cat and I’m connected to a different kind of serenity. I learned to tune in to my own heartbeat as well. One is never more away of being alive, until you slip into that silence with only the sound of your own heart pulsating through your body. Thank you for this! (Hugs)Indigo

  9. “It is in such silence that the Divine Command is uttered perhaps. Think of this and rejoice.” Wow. Thank you and then some.

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