Long ago, in the days before telephones and wireless communication, there existed a zone of silence in the world that covered the earth with a blanket of peace and quiet.
It carried in it the wishes and prayers of those who sought to lead a good life, a holy life, and it helped allay the fears of those who were concerned for the future. This zone of silence allowed communication between heaven and earth to proceed more smoothly since it was uninterrupted by earthly communication, and individuals related more to the surrounding world of the invisible, rather than to the voice at the other end of a telephone.
This is no longer the case. The noise of human affairs has replaced the silence of the spheres for humans to listen to. It has replaced the quiet of an afternoon spent sitting under a tree or by a stream with the busyness of working at a computer. It has created the fear of being alone because one is out of communication with everyone else. The idea of communing with oneself and with God has been replaced by the need to be in constant touch with others, with work, with world events, with the latest trends on the stock market, etc. The list goes on indefinitely.
The purpose of silence is to expand individual consciousness so that the human being can be nourished from a deeper source. The source is always there. Without the silence, it is often difficult to hear what it has to say because outer voices are clamoring for attention and are much easier to hear. Avoidance of quiet has become endemic to a whole way of life for people who pride themselves on keeping busy. It has become endemic to a culture that prides itself on getting a lot done and rising on the ladder of outer success, merit, education, accomplishment, fame, etc. But there is an inner ladder of accomplishment that can never be located in this way, for it goes not up, but down - down into the depths of one's being, down into the core elements out of which one is composed, down into the subsphere of thought to the place where thought no longer matters and only 'being' becomes real. This ladder contacts the depths of the soul and brings one closer to the realm of purpose in life, and, indeed, the purpose for which each one was created. This ladder takes us away from the distractions of outer life to the quiet zone of eternity.
Silence needs to be regulated into one's life so that depth can be maintained. It needs to flow like a secret river between one's soul and the outer expression of that soul. Taking time to be silent comforts the heart, enlivens the mind, gives liberty and joie de vivre to whatever actions will be taken at other times, and brings an individual out of a more shallow existence, into a deeper knowing of themselves.
Silence translates the language of the soul into a sense of purpose and direction for one's outer activities so that meaning in all things becomes enhanced, and random gestures or actions become minimized. In this way, silence contributes to the deepening of meaning in life.
There is no way for a society to emerge into a higher state of consciousness without individuals becoming more conscious of themselves - of who they really are, not who they have been taught they are or who they imagine themselves to be. Infusing a time of silence into the atmosphere of one's life is essential to the healthy growth of the total being, just as food is essential to the healthy growth of the body. Both are needed so that the spiritual can be connected with the material, and so that all that exists within as Divine gift and talent can find a means of outer expression.
Until such time as individuals come to value themselves enough so that they preserve an element of silence within their lives, life will continue to edge toward the frivolous and superficial and away from the deep and profound. Silence is the road toward spiritual growth, whether through quiet contemplation, meditation, or sitting by a river and watching the sky, silence reconnects man with his soul and restores the needed balance to life as it is meant to be lived.