Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Total Silence, Complete Dark

I like total silence. Early in the morning I like it best. No distant cars with their gently purring engines, and the swish of tires on the roadway. No hum of computers, or appliances singing through the house. No birds chirping, or voices whispering. Total silence.

To find this soundless universe I sometimes just cover my ears, but even here the sounds of my own breathing, occasionally the beating of my own heart, and the movement of my hands against the cartilage of my ears invade the noiseless universe; but these self generated sounds at least give the sense that I am alone.

I realize that evangelists and theologians have theorized that man's lonliness is one of the factors drawing the human heart towards God. This sense of lonliness in the universe is a cause for anxiety, and creates my deeper search for meaning I am told. Yet somehow I am drawn toward the silence. In a portion of every day I just want to be alone.

"Alone with God?" you ask.

No, just alone.

Perhaps this is a mild version of Job's regret that he was ever born. Maybe it is just my brief encounter with running away without having to go anywhere.

Avoidance is a major characteristic of my seasons of stress. I wonder how many people like me cover their ears just to hear the silence? If you do this go ahead and leave me a comment so that I will know that I am not alone in my little universe of loneness. Darn....there goes my theory that I really want to be totally alone.

I like complete dark too. Sometimes when my eyes are tired late at night, and bedroom still has enough light to give that gentle glow through my closed eyelids which tells me that the deep night has not come to its fullness, I cover my eyes with my hands. My eyes relax with relief in this lightless universe I create. No pinpoints of light coming through my fingers like the night stars. No barely perceptible glow like distant cities on the horizon. No deep grays, browns, or blues. I wait for the impressions of color upon my retina leaving their subtle watermark in my vision to fade away. Total dark.

Perhaps like silence, I've never met the complete dark. I visited the mighty Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, and while beneath the earth, the lights were turned off for a minute to experience complete darkness. I could not see my hands in front of my face. Was this really complete darkness, or is there something darker?

Christianity does not generally gravitate toward darkness. We compare light and darkness with truth and lies. We speak of the spirit of darkness, and the children of darkness, and contrast that to ourselves being the children of light. I realize that darkness is not a popular subject among Christian leaders through the ages. But I like the darkness.

You ask, "Are you drawing near to God in the thick darkness as Moses did?"

No, just plain darkness is what I am looking for.

Perhaps at some point I've just seen enough. Maybe this is my way of saying that I've had enough of searching for answers why, and receiving information which only deepens the mystery; and enough of seeing blessings which do not appear to match the depth of misery experienced in this world.

Perhaps this too is my brief encounter with running away at the end of the day. Do I have a gentle deathwish prodding me toward the dark and final sleep? Theologians and Psychologists say I have an innate fear of the dark sleep of death. Yet I love complete dark.

Avoidance fills my senses I suppose. I just like to be alone. Seeing no one smile. Seeing no one cry. Does anyone else cover their eyes to block out the gentle glow of light at night? Does anyone else like complete dark and search for it before sleep? If you like to be completely alone occasionally, leave a comment. Perhaps there is a twilight zone episode we can create together.


carl said...

alone, yes. I NEED time to be alone. If I don't get it I can turn ugly. Time to clear my head, freshen the pallette. Personally for me I don't gravitate to darkness and "nothingness" to be alone, kind of the opposite, I engage my senses with physical work, go for a drive or a walk, play video games, whatever activity it is, it is by myself, away from people so my mind can go on auto pilot for awhile. If I am stressed I may find myself wanting to do this more. Is it healthy? I think so, it's natural but of course all things in moderation I guess. You know a relationship is healthy (and precious) when two people can for a little while just do nothing together, no talking or active relating with each other and be ok with it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence (or isolation) is not a bad thing in of itself and neither is darkness.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I know that 'completely alone' need. The total silence.... yep. Total darkness Yep. There is a stillness in silence and dark that I find helps to 'ground' me. Sometimes I use that as the springboard into my spiritual journeys. Often 'grounding' is all I need. The chance to have the world shut out so I can experience peace, a moment without the constant mental chatter that comes from external stimuli grasping for attention... 'ME, ME, ME PAY ATTENTION TO ME' How can we continue to function if we don't allow ourselves to offload and escape every once in a while? So that total darkness, total silence, totally and completely alone time is MY time. Not so much to pay attention to myself as to not pay attention to anything.



MM said...

Hey dude,

Anytime you're ready to do the Twilight Zone episode, you let me know! ;)

Mike said...

the other night at church someone was telling a story about hiking alone and how they realized they missed people and how that is a sign of our need for others.

when i lived in canada i hiked three days into the southern portion of the canadian rockies. on the third day i realized i was totally alone. i hadn't seen another person since leaving the trail head. i wasn't afraid, or uneasy. i think it was the first time i hadn't been either afraid, or uneasy but completely at peace and content in a long long time.

my favorite time of the day is right before i fall asleep. it is completely dark and for the most part quiet and i am alone with myself.

i remember when i saw castaway. everyone was saying how relieved they were when he got off the island. i recall watching it and realizing that i didn't feel any tension until he got rescued and had to go back to regular "life."

i seriously have something wrong with me. but at least i know i am not the only one now.

David said...

well I don't cover my eyes but my bedroom has tin foil, duct tape and blankets over the windows to keep the light out, and i put stuff down at the bottom cracks of the doors to do the same... silence... I WISH... I have had a ringing in my ears since I was like 8... CONSTANTLY... since I was 8... like ALWAYS... for 20 years... one time I heard silence... out at a place near us where we live now... i HEARD silence... there was nothing for miles... and... well I almost cried. but yes... I am sorry... but you are not alone in your enjoyment of these things.