Presence and Silence

I’ve been thinking about something for a long time, and I keep noticing that most human speech – if not all human speech – is made with the outgoing breath. This is the strange thing about presence and absence. When we breathe in, our bodies are filled with nutrients and nourishment. Our blood is filled with oxygen, our skin gets flush; our bones get harder – they get compacted. Our muscles get toned and we feel very present when we’re breathing in. The problem is, that when we’re breathing in, we can’t speak. So presence and silence have something to do with each other.

Li-Young Lee

I also think that Presence is magnified in natural settings, particularly primeval forests such as the Redwoods and Sequoias.


The Japanese term Shinrin-yoku may literally mean “forest bathing,” but it doesn’t involve soaking in a tub among the trees. Rather it refers to spending time in the woods for its therapeutic (or bathing) effect. Most of us have felt tension slip away in the midst of trees and nature’s beauty. But science now confirms its healing influence on the body. When you spend a few hours on a woodland hike or camping by a lake you breathe in phytoncides, active substances released by plants to protect them against insects and from rotting, which appear to lower blood pressure and stress and boost your immune system.

Mother Nature Network

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One Comment on “Presence and Silence”

  1. Mom/Grandma Says:

    Oh, this is so true! Just being able to get out to our own yard/garden and simply be still and listen does it ….. the birds and all the faint sounds of out of doors.

    I believe the lack of it in the winter makes it so difficult for many of us to get through and we look and long for the first “warm” days of Spring! In other words, Cabin Fever 🙂