It is not the teachings of the Dalai Lama that have caused this post (I agree, it helped), but rather (again) Ode, and the inspiring article of Tijn Touber. He cites John Francis, an american eco-activist saying something very recognisable. "Most of my adult life I have not been listening fully. I only listened long enough to determine whether the speaker's ideas matched my own. If they didn't, I would stop listening, and my mind would race ahead to compose an argument against what I believed the speaker's idea or position to be." Good starting point.
And by now, we seem to know even better. Piero Ferruci suggests the following. "Our culture is suffering from an overdose of action and a shortage of contemplation. I consider contemplation a basic need; you even see it in animals. Just think about dogs and cats. You often see them staring off into space. I think that's their way of meditating, their way of recharging their batteries. We have that need too. But we deny this basic, physiological need - as if an entire society were to forget to go to the bathroom. That's serious!"
Silence is confrontational to the unstable mind. It won't allow you to escape from all the voices in your head. According to Matthieu Ricard most people aren't able to fathom the reality - the silence- behind the symptoms. As a result they hang on to manifestations: their job, body, religion or ideas. Because you can lose your job, body, religion or ideas, most people live their lives in perpetual fear.
For those that fear (yet another fear) that all this is going really too far, just to remind you that quantum physicists have known for decades that the so-called "empty space" between atoms is filled with life energy. Einstein spoke of this as "the only reality".
Touber gives a clear interpretation of meditation. Meditation is another word for listening. The word "meditation" literally comes from two Latin words: medio, which means "centre", and sto, "to stand". So meditation means "to stand in the centre". When you are in the centre of your own realm of thought, you are in the eye of the storm - the only place of calm. It is an accomplishment to get there and to stay there. It is the accomplishment of not being carried away by the storm of emotions, images, desires, judgments, thoughts, habits.
There is no path to silence, silence is the path.