If one looks up the meaning of quiet, it is said to be the same as silence, but to me there is a great difference.
Both of these are rare commodities, as actual silence – as in the absence of any sound – is increasingly difficult to find.
Quiet, however, is not the mere absence of all noise, but the sounds we hear do not disturb us.
Quiet may be found on a gentle stroll across a grass-covered field on a summer day – full of noises of the wind on the grass, birds cheeping in the distance, insects rustling in the undergrowth. But whilst surrounded by noise, we would feel the quiet in these comfortable sounds.
On the other hand, were we to find ourselves needing to cross that same field in the middle of a dark night, the level of sound would be minimal, maybe nonexistent. However, we might then find it not quiet, but disturbing trying to find our way across this expanse of nothingness.
Quiet then is as much a state of mind as an observable external fact.
It has to do with our state of mind, how calm and serene we are. And some sounds make us become quiet, become calm.
For me, I know that whatever my state of mind, walking along a beach calm quiet my inner turmoil. Not that this is silent – there is the wind, the sounds of water breaking on the shore, bird sound – even the sounds of other people here and there.
But my soul begins to settle down as I absorb the openness and majesty of nature – it calms me.
For others, the forest has the same effect, or a riverbank, or being at home in a favorite chair.
Since this quietness of the soul is an internal thing, the location or activity is essentially unimportant. We can find quiet in the middle of a busy city street, if we seek it there.
Quiet is essential to our inner life, and it can be found where we look for it.