There are times in life when words couldn’t possibly do a moment justice.
These moments are ineffable, too grand, too powerful, far too beautiful to be expressed. To speak, to utter even a sound would somehow defile, take away from, taint the experience of the moment.
Words, a trifle attempt to convey what would best be held in sacred silence, conveyed more truly through a glance, a touch, an embrace or simply through holding space for the absorption, digestion, integration of such hallowed experience.
As I lay on the table, receiving an herb infused oil massage, the massage therapist asked, “How are you doing Vanessa?”
I witnessed the receipt and processing of the inquiry. There was the cognizance of a need to reply in affirmation of doing fine, but, the means of forming words of response seemed somewhere in the distance.
Words had fallen away.
I knew how I was doing, yet the act of piecing together a verbal response would somehow bring my presence back to the guttural physical realm where all is compartmentalized, deduced, packaged, stripped down to the spoken w-o-r-d.
When an infant has yet to form words, is their emotional conveyance solely through expression any less meaningful? Is their love any less evident? Is their joy any less palpable? Perhaps they are all the more so. It’s naive to think that the joy of an infants smile, the love and wonder contained in their fresh stares, could be any more effectively expressed through the spoken word.
As adults, I wonder, do we hide behind the barrier of language, the phrase “I love you” thrown around as contritely as “How are you?” “Have a great day,” “Take care.”
Have words become a shield of separation, an evolutionary mechanism of resistance, averting the spaciousness necessary to feel? Is being in the moment with all that’s there, to soak it in, let it linger, mull, ripen, absorb into one’s being, rather than talk it away, venting through the mouth without end, becoming a lost treasure?
There are times in life for which there are no words, when the richest depth of communication is felt, rather than uttered or heard.
When the mind is allowed to take the back seat, not needing to translate emotion into language, there’s a settling. When the heart is allowed center stage, feeling given top billing, there is an opening. When elders no longer have the ability or desire to convey through spoken word and all they have experienced is transferred through a seasoned glance, expression, energy of shared aged presence, when words have fallen away, is there anything truly “lacking”?
What lies within the fertile recesses of the heart’s silence? Perhaps words veil humanities innate discomfort in these spaces of quietude, infinite potentiality bursting through the seams.
As lovers lay intertwined within each others embrace, as two heart beats synchronize to the rhythm of one, as the throws of breath rise and fall, there are no words to capture, summit, envelop the moment, they would only desecrate the sanctity of it.
When words fall away, there is only space—space beneath the muting of language, space for the symphony of heartstrings. To be with a moment, fully present, without needing to package, express, compartmentalize, analyze, or define through words, opens the way to the fathoms of awesome emotional wonder.
The same wonder held in the fresh wordless expressions of a baby’s face. The same richness of experience held in the deep wordless revelations of an elder’s eyes.
The same palpable energy held in the throws of embracing lovers.
Forge into quietude, allow it to envelope you. Witness what is there to greet you, in emotion, in comfort, in lack of ease, in silence.
Allow your heart to experience fully whatever emerges from beneath the veil of language.
The depths of life’s mysteries are held within the space revealed when words fall away.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Dana Gornall/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum