Silence can be very hard to find in our modern world. We are constantly surrounded by noise, traffic, industry, technology that keeps up switched on to a digital world around the clock. Not all sound is unpleasant of course, music, birdsong, wind in the trees or a rushing stream, but once in a while it is important for us to switch off from everything and just be silent.
As I said, very difficult in our modern lives, but still possible sometimes, but not for me it seems. Last year I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, and one of the eymptoms of this illness is tinnitus or constant noises in the ears. This means that where ever I go there is always noise inside my own head. At first I felt the loss of silence to be a terrible thing, a separation from my inner quiet somehow. I could not see how things such as meditation would be possible because I could not escape the roaring noises.
In addition to the tinnitus, meniere’s causes vertigo, an awful spinning sensation, that sometimes makes even the slightest movement practically impossible and so I also lost a great deal of my independence as I am no longer able to drive due to the attacks being sudden and disabling.
Determined not to let this illness control my life though, I began to try and work with what I have got, some of the spinning is now controlled by tablets and the attacks don’t happen as often, but the tinnitus emains the same.
As I started to try to meditate again I found it very difficult to find focus and to still my mind, until I realised something, although inside my head it was quite noisy, it blocked out many sounds from the outside world, and now I have practised this for some time, I actually find that rather than hinder, it actually helps me to go deeper into myself and to get much more from my meditation sessions than I did before.
So all the noises are just an aspect of my own personal silence, and I am learning to make the most of the hand I have been dealt.