In a long format interview with Japanology Plus Pico Iyer answers his lack of fluency in Japanese despite living in Kyoto for decades. He replies “To a certain degree I feel that coming here, as important as learning to speak Japanese, is learning to speak silence, or learning to speak nuance.”
As I contemplate the expansions and connections of my mind, my ongoing conversations and pursuits, my years of sitting and attempting to sit zazen, that feels to be getting to a fundamental point. Learning to speak silence. The same have been said by Benedictine monks. Devotion to silent contemplation, accomplishing what is necessary.
Communication, conversation, and normal human interaction are good. It’s not that they should be avoided or banned. Perhaps there are signals though that they should arise from silence, from stillness, from inner attention rather than freneticism, busy-ness, and compulsion.
* NHK World Japan. Japanology Plus. 3/3/2016. https://youtu.be/2IXvLkGLtdY