The Sound of Silence

I am silent, lying in bed, unable to sleep, listening. I hear my blood soughing in my ears. Then the sound spreads – but that is feeling, surely? What is the difference? It all feels the same. The sound in my fingers, in my feet. There is tingling there too – and that too seems like sound. Then the tension in my shoulders, the sucking in my belly. Outside, is there a very faint sound of traffic? I wait for the sound of the trains, but it is the dead of night. I strain to hear the water overflowing behind the house – I left a note for my neighbour – can I hear it or is it imagination? I try to hear the sound of the wind. Perhaps some people can hear the slightest movement of air, the sound of slugs crawling outside, of the creatures whose tracks appear in the snow in the morning so you know they have been there in the night. But no, what I can hear is all the feeling in my body, which grows and grows as I listen. The clench of my teeth, my eyes moving. The screaming in my ears which is always there, sometimes faint, sometimes loud. I wonder if yogis can hear their hair growing. Can they hear their digestion? Do they distinguish hearing and feeling, or is it more true to our experience to believe they are the same? Or perhaps I am in some sort of hypnagogic state – a state between sleep and waking.

I think of people who are in a coma. They hear and are not able to show that they have heard. Why do their bodily functions still happen, if their brain is not active? Because, I suppose, every cell is a little brain, knowing what it should do whether or not the brain is sending messages. Is your life still worth living in such a state? I suppose people who wake from a coma are asked that, but I have
not read what they answered. It would seem to me like an endless hell. Like being in solitary confinement – an inhuman punishment, it’s called. Yes indeed. We are a sociable species. But we are adaptable, and people do seem to survive that and other things I cannot imagine bearing.

I try to hear my thoughts. But although I am aware of them, I do not know if I am hearing them. You can think more quickly than you can speak, yet thoughts do seem to come in words. Does that mean that you can hear the ones that come in words but not the other ones? I am aware of the familiar questions, the ones that return again and again, and find no answers. The ones I wake up
with and fall asleep with. The ones that have dug deep grooves in my brain. The ones I hear when there is silence. I seem to be full of questions, and some of these I am writing down are new ones.

It has been interesting, to stop and listen.

Lindsey March

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