A Cicada Symphony is my favorite summer concert. The cicadas (although not the most beautiful insect ever invented) are companions on my evening walks and their song is the soundtrack to summer. With their chaos in the background, my mind is quiet and free to attend to the embrace of the muggy summer air, the sharpness of the cut grass, and the fading evening light. The white noise helps me appreciate singular elements of the summer evening that would be otherwise unnoticed. It helps me appreciate what is already right in front of me.
You’ll remember from this Meditation Thought Monday article that we are exploring the concept of Silence this summer. Silence can do the same thing as the Cicada Symphony: it can attract meaning to the mundane. When you have a comfortable relationship with silence, it becomes a backdrop that allows your mind/spirit to allocate meaning to ‘the little things’ that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Silence helps you appreciate what is already right in front of you.
In his book Silent Compassion, author and Franciscan Monk Richard Rohr points out that, “If something is not surrounded by the vastness of silence, it is hard to appreciate it is something singular and beautiful. If it is all mixed in with everything else, then its singularity, as a unique and beautiful object, does not stand out.”
In this way, silence attracts meaning. To add more meaning to the present moment, and all the little things that are already right in front of you:
Try this Meditation exercise:
- Find a stone. It does not need to be especially remarkable. In fact, it may be more useful if it is ordinary.
- Find a piece of blank paper. Draw a line through the middle it. The line can be vertical or horizontal.
- Place the stone right in the middle of the line. Place it right in front of you. Sit with it for 5 minutes.
Notice how the stone attracts greater and greater meaning the more time you spend with it.
Notice how the stone anchors you in the present moment. If the line represents time: then the timeline extends infinitely into the past and into the future. The silence around the stone, however, brings meaning and singular attention to the individuality of the stone and of the moment.
Inspiration from Richard Rohr:
“Silence is … a portal to constantly deeper connection with whatever is in front of you. That which is in front of you does not need to be big or important. It can be a stone. It can be a grasshopper. Anything can convert you once you surround it with the reverent silence that gives it significance, identity, singularity, importance or value.”
Practice this Meditation Technique every day this week. Notice how your relationship with the stone changes and notice how your relationship with silence changes.
New to Meditation? You’ll enjoy these Meditation Challenges, too: