THE NEED OF SILENCE IN OUR NOISY WORLDBYAYEGBA HUMPHREY OJONEINTRODUCTIONWhat is silence? Silence has different meaning to many people, but the common meaning of silence to many is the absence of noise. Come to think of it, is it truly the absence of noise? According to Thomas Moore, silence does not mean defeat by noise; it is rather a victory over noise and empty talks.Silence is the beginning of an inward journey and it refers more to the external aspects, the external noise is various form of sound while the internal noise is thinking and imagination that go on in our mind. Religion emphasises so much on silence. In the Bible, Jesus practiced silence that enabled him experience God as Abba and humans as brothers and sisters when He withdraw in silence to pray in a lonely place (Mk 1:35, Lk 5:16). Mahatma Gandhi, the great Hindu sage is also said to observe a day of silence in a week. Fr Oshida often says that “To keep silence is to enter in the womb of God”. Silence certainly helps us to pray contemplatively.SILENCE IS ALSO AN ART OF COMMUNICATIONSilence is an art of conversation. It communicates more than words. As Callistus a motivational writer and speaker will say “He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know” (2013). An incident that showed me that silence communicates more than words even in love was that of my mum Lady Victoria KSJ. She never told me she loves me in words but almost every night she will come to my room to see if I cover myself with blanket and also close my window if it is open. Shehardly spoke words of love to me but showed so much love, care and concern which she expressed in silence. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SILENCE AND LONELINESS, FOR SILENCE IS GOLDENMost times we confuse the difference between silence and loneliness. Loneliness is the loss of contact with reality and disconnected from environment and loved ones, it is always when there is no healthy relationship with others to share our feelings, blessings, sorrows, love, thoughts and difficulties in life. Silence is golden in times of suffering, for when we are unable to understand some suffering we remain in silence. In suffering is a time to experience the deepest silence like Job in the Bible. Job’s first response to his suffering was silence and even his friends expressed a golden silence when they visited him and they stayed with him for seven days without a word but wept for him (Job 1-2). It is a golden silence when the mindset is positive; positive words flows while when negative then negative words flows which can cause harm in our relationship.Lonely people are usually inclined to have recourse to drugs, sexual promiscuity and alcohol and so on, when their relationship is always formal, casual and not in genuine contact with people around them or nature. While silence is golden when we are angry, irritated, helpless cause the mindset at a point matters a lot. In our daily suffering, silence give birth to something new and great in us, when we suffer all we need is a positive words that will flow from a positive faith filled silence which have power to enable us to energize those suffering.SILENCING ONE’S MIND FROM THE NOISY WORLD WHICH AWAKENS THE INNER SPIRITIt is clear that most of our emotional problems are from restless mind. The wandering mind makes us restless and we have been taught to rely on our mind. The rational mind is a gift from God but most people are restless because they are always bewildered by constant inflow of divergent thoughts in their disturbed mind which give room for new thoughts and the thoughts give rise for new emotions. So there will be a chain of cause and effect, that’s conflicting thoughts and emotions, as the Buddha will say that “your worst enemy cannot harm you as your unguarded thoughts.”When people are disturbed in mind, they have disturbing thoughts and will not see reality. Men do not mirror themselves in running water but only in still water, when the water is calm all that is within becomes visible so that is how a silent mind can be but a disturbed mind is like a lake that have ripples on the surface that makes it impossible to see what is within it and mirror ourselves. In order for one to silent the mind to awakening the inner spirit, it is difficult because of urge within to speak, so it is good to practice the Yoga and Vipasana.Yoga is a science of activating our inner energies in such a way that our body, feelings, mind and spirit function at their peak of complete relaxation. It also help to achieve self mastery and strengthening of will power, aiming at nothing short of emptying the mind of unnecessary thoughts, for all we are is as a result of our thoughts. If a person is happy, it is because he dwells on happy thoughts but if he is miserable then it is because he dwells on despondent thoughts. While Vipasana is a disciple, aimed at deepening awareness of respiration and body sensation, it controls the mind and set one free from enslaving attachment that makes the mind balance; Vipasana heighten concentration, deepens awareness of reality, breaks the causes of suffering and dispose one for insights into truth which can set us free.Silence of the mind clears the cobwebs in the mind that heals and revitalizes us in such a way that the end result is more life, peace and happiness. In order to attain such silence of the mind then one seeks to be ‘Mindless’- not preoccupied with thoughts. ‘Egoless’- not caught up with desires. ‘Timeless’- not trapped in the past or ensnared to the future but living in the present.In other words, when these are done then one will realize his/her oneness with God, his/her communion with God and his/her mind will be clear of all false beliefs that will bring about self liberation. Silence of the mind makes it easier for us to recognize God presence within us and around us and allow God to be God in us and the Holy Spirit to be Holy Spirit in us.EVALUATION/CONCLUSIONIt is clear that so many people are frightened by silence due to the haunting story about the silence of the forest, cave, mountain, and graveyard and we grown up with such fear. The fear of silence makes us think of silence as far too daunting and the negative aspect of it creates a feeling of blankness, emptiness, and loneliness which has made it so difficult to see any value in silence.There is no doubt that our world is presently noisy that people cannot do things without noise like a child will not sleep unless a tape is playing by the side, what a strange way of conditioning a child to sleep. There is so much loud music playing along the street and even in some homes close to us that I wonder how people can be comfortable with it, I start to think if seminary training about silence is spoiling me but I came to know that so many people don’t know the need of silence in our daily life, which has made our world so noisy.Silence is not just only the absence of noise or sound but the absence of the ego, absence of self concern and self preoccupation but the state of positive sensation of the Divine presence within us by calming the mind and hearing by the heart. Word of appreciation, love, affection, tenderness, understanding, compassion are necessary for nurturing life of children that make them to develop self-esteem but for our words to be life giving, it must spring from silence. Nature teaches us on how to integrate silence and sound, for when we look at the plants and trees and how they grow silently. The sun, moon, and stars that give light silently. The flower buds that blossom into flowers silently. Listen to the sound of the rain, the waterfalls and thunder. So beautiful and wonderful, in nature there is sound and there is silence; sound and silence are both God’s gift to us and they are two aspects of one reality that we have to learn to integrate in our daily life.