Silence of the Heart

We spend a lot of time attempting to put the feelings in our
hearts into words, to communicate to others our passions, our emotions, and our
love. Often we are so busy trying to translate our heart’s roar into language
that we miss the most profound experience the heart has to offer, which is
silence. Every poem arises from this silence and returns to it. When all the
songs have been sung, the soliloquies delivered, the emotions expressed,
silence is what remains. As each wave of feeling rises and falls back into the
silence, we have an opportunity to connect with the vast, open, powerfully
healing wisdom at the soundless center of our hearts.

Our hearts may seem noisy and tumultuous so much of the time
that we do not even associate them with silence. It takes a sensitive ear to
tune in to the silence of the heart, but it is there in each one of us, so
close and so large that we do not even notice it. We can begin to become aware
of it in the same way we become aware of the negative space in a still life, the
background of a photograph, or the open sky that contains the sun, clouds,
moon, and stars. We are accustomed to tuning in to objects and sounds that are
one-pointed, solid, and three-dimensional. Seeing and hearing the apparently
empty space that contains these sounds and objects takes a little practice.

We can bring our awareness into our hearts by simply
breathing into the general area of our heart. The first thing we may notice is
feelings like joy or sadness and physical sensations like tightness or
tenderness. We acknowledge these as we continue to breathe and focus, listening
attentively. We surround these feelings and sensations with breath and
recognize that they are contained and held in an immeasurable substance like
water or air, intangible, ineffable, but utterly real. This is the silence of
the heart, and the more we listen for it, return to it, and accept it, the more
we bathe and purify ourselves in the soundless center of our being.