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  • Glasgow Cathedral has stood the test of time since the 1700's, and before. It was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt again but it stands today not only as a testament to the craftwork of the builders and a monument to the dead of Glasgow's past, but it is also a refuge from the city. A sanctuary from the madness of the streets which stand only a few feet away.

    Step through the wooden door and you enter a world of silence so deep, so effective that you can't even hear the passing traffic on the main road outside. Whispers carry in hushed tones across the building and whilst it's difficult to hear what has been said, the sound itself is like an assault on the eternal silence that hangs heavy in the air.

    However, it is that very silence that some actively seek out in our modern world. I am one of them. I am not religious in the conventional sense, I seek no profound spiritual experience nor silent contemplation. I am, simply, one who experiences an excess of noise as an almost physical assault on my senses.

    The numerous private cars driven by, mostly, reckless youths who have 'pumped up the volume', allied to the incessant sound of the traffic in a normal large city on an average day, all adds to the cacophony of noise attacking the eardrums, reverbating around inside your head, bouncing around until the brain, the mind, cries "Enough!!"

    Quite often, headaches, earaches and stress are the result of too much exposure to noise. That is researched and documented medical fact yet, I have found that some people find this almost unbelievable, that it must be 'all in your head'!? Well, Yeah, That's my point exactly!

    The youth blasting out his 'toons' on his souped up sub woofing mobile disco is as alien to me as I must be to him (or her). I get the impression that those who like noise all the time, might just have a fear of experiencing silence because silence means you might just actually start to think, to become aware and then experience reality. Many people don't want to experience reality though. They don't want to go to all the bother of changing the reality they don't like so they replace it with an alternative of their own, pretending that 'is' their reality. Be it constant noise, compulsive facebooking, the cult of celebrity, etc., they all have their own method of dealing with reality.

    Good or bad, change it or not, I'd much rather experience it. How can you tell when your imperfect life of hell or your ideal heaven on earth changes, in either direction, if you don't experience it? The only way to experience it, truly, fully is to set some time aside to experience silence. Not silence with nobody talking but the TV or Radio going in the background. Not silence sitting in a library with people shuffling back and forth getting and returning books.

    Only silence, stillness that permeates the very air you walk in, you breath, will suffice, like that found in Glasgow Cathedral. A veritable repository of the wisdom of the ages, from those who built her, who are interred there, who visit there. Those who know the true meaning of life, the secrets of living. Who remain silent!

    I recall visiting there many times and, even when you are in the lower vaults at the back of the Cathedral, you can hear the main door open as someone enters, at the front of the building. That is up two flights of stairs and about a thousand yards distance. An amazing place that I miss very much!
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