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The Joy of Silence

The Joy of Silence

Karma Trekker’s Host Damon Redfern has lived and traveled across the globe. So he knows a thing or two about inner peace and outer tranquility. Here’s his ode to silence.

There are a lot of sayings about the virtue of silence and the wisdom and calm of nothingness.  Since the first homo sapiens decided it was cool to bang two rocks together, philosophers, monks and writers have championed the cause of peace and quiet. In a modern world where noise is defined as progress we have seemed to have forgotten the joy of tranquility.

Once a year the predominantly Hindu Island of Bali creates a not-so-gentle reminder with Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence. Nyepi is a Balinese holiday that marks the island’s Lunar New Year (March 23rd in 2012). It is a day of quiet contemplation, fasting, and meditation. The goal is to provide an island-wide break from the activities of daily life to allow people to relax and focus on the eternal truths that so often get swept aside by more mundane pursuits. It’s a chance for the Balinese to focus on the balance between gods, mankind and nature.

During Nyepi everything on the island closes.  And I mean everything as the people take this day very seriously.  The Denpasar Airport is shuttered, all traffic and commercial activities come to a halt and even the resort island’s renowned beaches are off limits to foreign and domestic tourists. In order to observe the four rules of Nyepi, there are no lights, no activities, no travel and no entertainment as 4 million Balinese gather in their homes to meditate and pray.

So as I sit here on a grey winter’s morning watching traffic pass by my window, the honking and clatter of people and cars makes me long for solitude and wish I was back in Bali. I like the concept of being freed from the tyranny of sound and not just for some aural aesthetic purpose but for a much more deep and personal reason; it’s easier to think and contemplate surrounded by calm and silence then to create and contribute when you’re caught up in the midst of chaos and commotion. So here’s to a day for the rest of the world to maintain silence and to help us all to reconnect with what matters most. Here’s to the joy of nothingness.

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