Solitude cultivates the ability to observe life dispassionately and gives time for introspection. Mother’s lap is the ideal place to be alone; one is alone but not lonely. We want to be alone but we don’t want to go to the Himalayas to be alone.
Are we losing our capacity to be alone? In the valley of silence, there is no family, no colleague; only thoughts chatter ever more loudly. How can one quieten the noise within? The perception of sound is a state of the mind. At times, in spite of too much noise, we don’t notice it. When we read a good book, the disturbing sound is just not there. When the book is bad, but we must read it for an exam, the sound assaults us ferociously. More than the acoustics, it is the experience of the sound that matters more.
Complete destruction of consciousness gives rise to complete silence. Obviously, no one would wish to achieve that. Outer noise disturbs our inner silence. But in the absence of outer noise, there is no guarantee that our inner noises will recede. Our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present. To calm inner noises, we often take the help of ‘outer noises’ such as listening to good music or reading a good book.