I have loved silence as much as or more than I have loved music – and of course music is only what it is by virtue of the silence that comes with it, both the kind you can write down, that is threaded all through it, and the kind that underlies it, an open ground beneath the whole structure of sound.

Contrary to our common imagination, our solar system, and the space beyond our heliosphere, is bathed and criss-crossed with unheard, magnetic sounds, that can can even be converted to audio waves that we can hear with our human ears. ClassicFM has some samples, and NASA too has shared some from much further away in the depths of interstellar space. But under these too is silence: a silence bright with starlight and seamed with barely imaginable gravitational waves.

The fertile stillness that silence is seems very close to the dark transparency that sometimes one can touch in contemplation. It seems to me that in contemplation perhaps all we are doing is stripping away the accretions of thought and habit, draining the mind’s default mode that tries to fill our resting moments with its lowest common denominator daydreams. All that we are, all we have come from, rests in the ground of being itself, and it may be that we can touch the edge of that ground itself in silence, in the resting place between breaths, or the quiet of sitting still.

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