When my son was born I was the first to see his head emerge. It was a water birth and I was the only witness to this moment. In the days and months that have followed the birth I have revisited the moments of that day, reflecting on how it went and what it meant.
When my son emerged and laid on his mother’s breast, vocalizing his first sounds with the sweet, robust cries of purpose, my heart raced through a storm of emotions and my breathing barely could keep up. All I could muster were heaving cries with the mysterious, powerful energies triggered by the genesis of life. A holy trinity was born in that moment – a son was born and in being born gave birth to a mother and father.
I can’t articulate much of the feelings coursing through me at my son’s birth. This makes sense since I too was born at his birth, experiencing a new world of being. The old world was washed over with new rains, my vision immersed in strange waters, and any articulation retreated to the twilight of our mingled creation.
The absence of words serves a great purpose: it sharpens the receptive sensibilities. Words and any kind of projection muddy the waters of sublime experience. There are moments that deserve our best silence. Those moments need to remain in the emergent state, never quite arriving, when the only sign we seek is the breath, telling us that life is present. And that is enough.
With pronounced receptivity we glean the whispers of illumination contained in hidden rooms of silence.
Yet, there’s more.
If we persist in our deference to the silence we may hear the invitation by more silent forces that reside within our being. Our own lives and the living of it take on added nuance and meaning, and to us are revealed previously unknown aspects of our being that can inspire us through their revelations.
For the same reason, and by similar dynamics, great visual art remains wordlessly compelling, and yet its story can be told, or even better, new ones created, for centuries and millenia by the observers that choose to tell them.
The art, much like the life-changing experience and the memories that follow, remains in silence – watching, observing, looking for the sign of life, and no more. It knows better than that.