The silence in between

Posted 8 October 2021 8:40am

In Japanese aesthetics, there is the most beautiful concept, known so simply, as ‘ma’. Translated to ‘negative space’, ‘ma’ is that space between the walls of a building, the white between the lines of a drawing, the silence between the sounds in music. It is not form, yet form cannot exist without ‘ma’; it is almost a philosophical statement – what is darkness, but the absence of light?

In a world that demands our attention, time, and energy, the opportunities to immerse ourselves fully in a moment – to be completely present - are often few and far between. Without this time to pause, to reflect, to ‘hold the note’ and avoid the temptation to rush through each moment, we forgo an opportunity to wonder, to imagine the possibilities, or to be so transfixed by a moment it appears as though the rest of the world has stopped, momentarily, with us.

Music is something that refuses to be rushed. Composers and musicians alike understand that, paradoxically, without silence, there would be no music – only continuous noise. Within even the liveliest compositions we find silence – in between notes, in a note held, or at the end of a piece, when often an audience will be hesitant, reluctant even, to break the silence with applause. Time stops.

It’s in these moments – the spaces between the notes – where we find meaning. We connect. We simply exist.

As we begin Term 4 and navigate our increasingly busy world, going through the motions of our daily lives, we are at risk of losing connection with ourselves, unable to find meaning in a moment, no time to pause, to ponder. That ‘silence between the notes of life’ is often where we are our truest selves. It is in these moments we have the opportunity to ‘be’.

I encourage you to connect with your moment and find the magic that lies within it.


Ms Ellena Papas

Executive Director (Operations)