THE VIRTUE OF SILENCE
Of all the virtues that most men and women disregard, it is silence. People go about in their everyday lives not even noticing the beauty of one's "inner silence." Try an experiment: Close your eyes. Tune out the sounds from everything that's surrounding you, and focus on what is going on inside you. Take a deep breath and just listen. How many inner voices did you hear? Most people do not even realize the amount of noise that is carried around in the human body. As you can see, even in the remarkably noisy age we live in, the real noise is on the inside. But even these noises can dissappear if one wishes. All one needs to do is study one of many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism. Each of these religions have many techniques for meditation, and their reasons for wanting to find "pure silence" are generally the same.
This reason for finding your inner silence is basically the same for every religion, but to go about and reach this perfect sense of serenity can be accomplished in many ways. Each religion has their own set of steps to reach Nirvana, or utter bliss and perfection. Buddhism, for instance, has many different levels of meditation. Each level reached will take you into a deeper silence of meditation until you reach "rightful meditation." Rightful meditation is the "sinking into total silence. Silence of the senses, silence of inner muscular tone, silence of feeling" (Da Passano, 23). Although it takes much time, this method is not difficult. One has to be able to drown out all sounds so that there is no sound to be heard. It's as though it doesn't exist.
The Christian and Jewish methods, however, differ greatly. These two separate religions believe that to go about reaching a state of perfect silence and meditation, one must pray to God. Both of these religions teach that if a person wanted to drown out the rest of the world, including one's own self, that person must pray. A meditative prayer where people fall into a trance, allowing only thought to occur. No sound can penetrate their thoughts. Absolute, utter silence.
Christianity, and mainly Monasticism, believe that silence keeps the heart and soul pure. By not speaking, one may not taint their lips with "evil". Hence, in monasteries, monks take on vows of silence. They believe that with the help of God they can overcome the urge to speak evil against anyone else, thus keeping there souls pure. This, however, is much harder than it seems. Jews and Buddhists do not always need to keep silent. Jews meditate and pray on a weekly basis. Buddhists, too, don't feel as though they need to take on a full time vow like the monasteries demand. It is detrimental to a monastic lifestyle that a vow of silence be kept. Its importance is to help a monk...