The Texture of Silence

“I think in trying to listen, for example, to the silence of my paralysis, that it itself has texture, that it itself has life in it. And it’s a kind of life that mixes. In a yoga pose, for example, you try to make what I would say the silence congruent with physical exertion, not just physically exert with a lot of will. Think about what you can feel in your body. You only feel a little portion of it. If I were to ask you to stretch the intercostal muscles right now, you wouldn’t exactly know how to do that …

Like you have silence too in your mind-body relationship. If I’d ask you to lift your inner — the arches of your feet directly, you wouldn’t be able to do that. If you were to try to go there, you would encounter a wall, a brick wall. Now, the question is, is it just a brick wall? Or if you start, and start to listen and to be quiet, you can start hearing that brick wall. It isn’t just a wall. It’s a different quality of awareness that’s residing within you, that in that silence, sounds can gain texture again.

And I say one place the moon might reveal itself, life reveal itself again, only darker. I compare it to walking from a well-lighted room into a dark one. At first you can’t see anything. But if you sit and you pause and you listen, usually there’s enough light to get across the room, you know? It’s not going to be like turning the light back on, but in fact, the world gets this other kind of texture that makes it beautiful …”

Matthew Sanford

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