Thursday, 2 August 2012

Finding Silence.

Summer in France.

I have had a week away running forest and mountain trails. There is something marvellous about running along narrow exciting trails. The possibility that you may not reach the top, the unexpected edge that you know needs to be given 100% concentration.

I ran just such a trail. The information board at the car park warned that the orange trail was strenuous and should only be tackled in the correct boots and clothes. So I set off in running shorts t shirt and running shoes, so I was taking heed of the warnings.

After half a mile the track took a sharp drop down the side of the hill weaving through the trees, the trail covered in the roots of the trees, exhilarating.  At the bottom the trail widened again and for the next few miles undulated its way through the forest. I began to wonder why it was marked as strenuous. Then it began to climb, and climb, all the time the path narrowing. Then I saw it turn upwards, straight upwards, a narrow rocky track with ever increasing drops.  Every step had to be taken with thought. I often liken such routes as similar to playing chess, it is always wise to be thinking five moves ahead to see where you are going to plant your foot in plenty of time.

Eventually the track broke through at the top offering stunning views over the tops of the high trees.  For a moment I could switch off and just take in the vista before me before heading down what turned out to be a marvellous fast two or so miles.

An easy going disciple of Lao-Tzu once complained that he had never experienced the real silence that the master frequently commented on.  Lao-Tzu looked at him and said, “Silence only comes to active people.”

I had often thought about that and never truly understood it. The other day, possibly for the first time in my life I sensed a silence that filled my head with nothing but peace.

I wish this peace to all, but it seems it does not come without activity and creative action.

This blog is linked to my other.Summer Evening France


  1. "The Sounds of Silence are written on the subway walls." I wonder, really, if this is any different?

  2. Silence usually embodies more meaning that sound, doesn't it? I saw this Rumi quote on Twitter the same day you posted, maybe everybody was craving some silence in their lives that day.
    "In silence there is eloquence.. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves."
    (Ah, but that was Zen, this is Tao...)