This morning while in the process of supposedly donating rice to the hungry of the world and building my vocabulary, a definite win/win opportunity courtesy of http://www.freerice.com, I came across the word quietus.
The vocabulary game on freerice.com challenges players to match a given word with a synonym or near-matching word. Quietus, defined on dictionary.com as “a finishing stroke; anything that effectually ends or settles,” was paired with the word “death” on freerice.com. This match prompted some pondering. What is the relationship between the root of quietus, quiet, and death?
In death, our bodies are quiet, at least as far as human hearing allows. They are still making some noise, since they are still moving and disintegrating, but our ears are generally not that fine-tuned. Nonetheless, is referring to death as quietness a fair claim?
Is death anything more than quietness? Silence is certainly one of the defining characteristics of a dead body. Then again, we can also be silent while living and breathing. So I wonder, does practicing silence bring us closer with death? And if we practice so much silence that we actually become at peace with our quietness, then do we awaken to peace with death?
Hmm…quite possibly indeed! We can imitate death with stillness and silence, and to the extent that we are at peace with such an imitation, perhaps we can overcome our fear of death.
What does stillness and silence look like? A meditative posture! Or better yet…sleep! Sleep is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things we do, right?
Quietus…death…meditation…sleep…none really sound so bad after all. Meditation is actually one of my favorite activities, followed closely by writing on here, breathing, and laughing for apparently no reason. Then follows sleep.
I chose to write about ‘Quietus’ this morning because I know death is commonly identified as one of the greatest of human fears, right behind public speaking. Yet, if we ever take time to ponder death, I think we’ll all grow into much greater peace and acceptance. It might not be much more than silence of our physical bodies. We can all bring ourselves a bit closer to death by practicing a bit of silence from time to time, maybe even take a day of silence, just for the experience.
Giving yourself the gift of silence will expand your awareness, heighten your appreciation for the gifts bestowed upon you freely at birth, and also grow you in comfort and connection with the idea of being physically silent for perhaps a longer period of time. We all talk too much anyway… 😉