Have you ever stopped to think about the language of silence? Does it really have a language all its own? That may seem like a weird thing to ask. I invite you to consider communication without words.
It turns out there is a LOT written about it. Have you noticed how being around people who have to fill every second with sound makes you crave silence?
Sometimes, it seems to me that silence speaks way louder than any words. That meaningful glance across a crowded room. A smile. A hug. Shared times when no words are needed:
Silence is not an absence of sound; it is the presence of meaning, writes JUG SURAIYA.
Two old men, friends of many years standing, would meet in each other’s house every day. They would sit in perfect silence for a couple of hours, then the visitor would get up and leave, without a word of farewell.
The inevitable happened and, in the natural course of things, one of the old men died. “You must miss him a lot,” said a condoler to the survivor. “I do,” replied the bereaved friend. “What I particularly miss are the long conversations we used to enjoy with each other.”
Communication is so much more than mere words.
Hold onto these thoughts as I take you on a journey into the world of silent communication.
Think about this for a moment. In a short excerpt from the book A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett there is a paragraph in which the author speculates about a strange friendship that had formed between a forlorn, lonely little girl, Sara, and Melchisedec, a rat, she had befriended :
How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak without even making a sound to another soul. But whatsoever was the reason, the rat knew from that moment that he was safe – even though he was a rat…
Have you ever had such a connection? Maybe not with a rat, but some beloved pet.
Let’s take this concept of silent communication a little further. This time we stop and have a brief glimpse into the language of plants. Scientists have discovered that trees talk to each other. There is a network of interconnectedness that supports an amazing capacity for trees to communicate with each in times of danger, growth and healing.
Plants respond to the world around them by the creation of extremely specific and complex chemicals which are interwoven feedback cues from the external world. They are then released into the soil and air as a form of communication filled with meanings.
A symbiotic relationship exists between plants and animals – communication of mutual benefit for defence, procreation and healing:
The closely intertwined feedback loops in plant communities automatically note when any member of the plant community is ill and the mycelial networks just under the surface of the soil transports necessary chemistries to them. Healthy plants connected to the mycelial network increase their production of whatever chemical is needed and send it to the mycelia for distribution.
There is a veritable ‘army’ of creatures that work to pollinate plants in response to chemical communications. Sometimes they are species unique. There are at least 1,500 bird species, 15,000 wasp, 40,000 bee, 20,000 butterflies and moths, 14,000 flies, 200,000 beetles, 165 bats, and 300 other mammals that pollinate plants. Many of them also use plants as medicine.
What is fascinating is that some plants seem to respond and adapt to specific healing needs. Chimpanzees infected by intestinal parasites will choose plants specific to the parasite which has infected them. Consider this – Chimpanzees actively test Asphilia plants for activity by holding a leaf in their mouth for extended periods of time before deciding to pick it or go on to another. As they sit, allowing their VNO to analyze the chemical content of their chosen plant, in return, the plant, as it does with spider mites, analyzes the saliva of the chimpanzee. In a short period of time, the plant begins altering its chemical production to enhance the necessary chemicals needed by the chimpanzee for healing. How fascinating is that!
This network of interconnectedness is beautifully illustrated in the movie, Avatar, when Jake Sully and Neytiri visit the sacred site where the Tree of Souls resides.
For our indigenous brothers and sisters world-wide, connectedness and communication with Nature is as important and real as breathing and life itself. Many who have grown in a culture founded on logic and rationalism seem to have lost this aspect of being. Interestingly, as western medicine struggles to manage and treat disease with chemically derived medicines, scientists are discovering more and more about the amazing healing qualities of plants and animals.
As the Jungian psychoanalyst James Hillman comments, the heart is the organ that “perceives the correspondences between the subtleties of consciousness and levels of being. . . it is concerned with the interpenetration of consciousness and world.” The heart has a natural capacity to find the eachness of things, to experience an intimacy with each particular event. The ancient Greeks called this capacity aithesis. Developing the capacity for aithesis allows the unique living essence that is present in all things to flow into the human through the organ of perception that is designed to receive it – the heart.
I leave you to ponder this poem by Norbert Mayer –
A rock took fright
When it saw me
By playing dead
© Raili Tanska