Their Royalnesses advised me to call in at the hermit’s place.
“Where is it ?”
“Deep in the forest. Or on the edge of the forest. Or one at a time. Just ask someone and you’ll get directions.”
“What if the place takes ages to find?”
“That’s partly the point. Only the most determined get through. And when you get there you’ll be so puffed out you’ll be able to keep silent for a few hours.”
“To hear the hermit’s wise advice for my journey?”
“Probably not. Some hermits keep their lips hermitically sealed. You might get a smile.”
“But aren’t some known for helping the locals solve their problems? Giving wise advice and stuff?”
“That is true. But you see the point of being a hermit is mainly to keep silent. Rather like a group of Shut Your Trappist monks.”
“A group of monks who stay together in order not to have conversations with each other. Isn’t that a bit weird?”
“You have to realise that a shared silence is bigger than an individual silence.”
“I get that, but what’s the point ? Why go somewhere just to be all that silent – what good does it do ?”
“Well, silence is golden, the saying goes. Years ago I read some books by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa. He was a hermit for a time though he made up for it afterwards with all his books. I mean, he got so many great ideas while being silent that he had enough material for all those books.
“Fiction writers do a form of the same thing to get their stories written. Usually they start in the morning according to strict discipline, put a Do Not Disturb sign on their office door and write for a set time. If they were being constantly interrrupted they’d get nothing done.
“Likewise a CEO. Why do you think CEO’s have secretaries? Yes I know all that stuff but the original point of a secretary was to limit access to the CEO in case the CEO was having a quiet time getting a brilliant idea for the company.
“Do you know, all this talk is making me quite exhausted. But there’s one last point before you leave. Tuesday (Mr Lobsang Rampa) also said there was a very special kind of hermit he met. They live in a row of special houses with no windows and almost no doors, to keep out as much light as possible. It was organised, they’d get food passed in to them and presumably a toilet bucket taken out though he didn’t explain that bit. If you like they were voluntary prisoners doing an important job for humanity.”
“What was it?”
“They would travel astrally round the planet fixing problems, had it down to a fine art. That’s easier to do in constant dark, without the distraction of lighted surroundings. Travel time wasn’t an issue – imagine your destination, intend and Bingo ! you’re there. And as they didn’t take their voices with them their help would have to be given silently, like just popping a good idea into the head of someone who was sitting there being silent.
“I’m not promising that you get your good ideas from one of them, but there’s a chance of it. You know when you ‘get a good idea’, that it comes in silence and you don’t know exactly where from.
“Now I really am exhausted. You’d better go.”
I learned something that day.
Conversation is for sharing ideas. No wonder it’s silver.
Silence is for getting them.
No wonder it’s gold.