Ifell in love with silence long before I could name it.
Perhaps we all do. Perhaps it is there, that human attraction to silence, gently imprinted on our genes as uniquely and as indelibly as our own fingerprints, from the time we bob like little satellites in the soft, dark universe of our mother’s womb.
But once we enter this noisy and colourful world, the power of silence is eclipsed. There are so many exciting things to discover, not least the impact that our own noises—crying and cooing, screaming and babbling, and finally words and sentences—have on the people around us.
Eclipsed, then, but not erased. I believe the memory of silence lingers somewhere, like a first love, in our unconsciousness. Sometimes it might give us a nudge, like a deja vu, a familiar chord resonating somewhere deep in our souls. The question is whether we turn to it again—whether we choose to reignite this ancient human love story amid all the babble, the pings, the alerts, the alarms of daily life.
The first time I felt a pull towards something bigger than me, some- thing that felt like a welcoming space without being physically tangible, something as soothing as a parent’s whisper and yet not audible, was in the early 1970s. It was a time when a generation of young hippies were ditching relatively privileged lives in the West to immerse themselves in the esoteric practices of yoga, chanting and meditation found in places like India, Tibet and Nepal. But nothing quite that exotic was happening in Brisbane, Queensland. And besides, I was just four years old.