I have been thinking about silence .Of course true silence is rare. I am the only one awake in my house s I type this. I haven't turned on the radio or TV so the house is silent...but there are sounds. The clock ticking, the cats moving around. And just now when I was outside doing my qigong there was more than normal normal traffic....and it was noisier than normal as well.
Silence is often associated with words like peace, calm, tranquility. But silence can be frightening. - Imagine if you woke up suddenly deaf...!. Maybe its the fear of silence people think you need in meditation that puts some people off. If there is no external sound....your thoughts take priority and that may lead you somewhere you don't wish to go.
I think the true value of being silent, is that it means you can listen. (Is it coincidence those two words are anagrams?) Because there is always something even if it is only a clock or a cat or the sound of your breath.. And in the 'silence' you can choose to give sounds any meaning. The loud traffic sounds could be a nuisance. .....or something I just let pass as of no interest. Or it could be a reminder that while I had the pleasure of standing in my garden..others were on the way to work.
For me I treasure the silence I get in the morning. I chose not to have any background 'company' But then I am happy with my own company. For some, that silence is a reminder they are alone, and they need the company....or maybe the sounds distract them from thoughts they don't want to be thinking....
Physical silence is one thing. Mental silence quite another...and mental silence is impossible. Thats why mantras are a meditation tool...to give your 'monkey mind' a helpful focus. instead of racing from one thought to another.
But that monkey mind is driven by our subconscious....and it is trying to protect us.Physical silence makes it easier to listen to and understand the message it is trying to give us.