With my enduring intention to be of service by sharing insights discovered from adversity in hopes it helps you, I offer the strategy of ‘Silence.’
A reforming perfectionist, I was historically a pro at busy, Silence-avoiding – and, ok, ya got me. Still from time to time.
If I wasn’t working a full business day or marathon training while listening to music 10 to 15 miles before or after work, I was reaching out to someone by phone or happy hour chatting with friends. Silent was not really my forte.
Chronic illness and a 2017 where my world came to a big ole halt resulted in Silence surrounding me.
Feeling rudderless and rather unhinged without viable seeming, chasm-crossing options, I looked inward and upward in Silence.
In barely tolerable discomfort, all I heard initially in this Silence was … Crickets.
It felt tedious, irritating, relentless even.
Silence abounded in the dark nights of my soul, hence I gather the time had come to just Be. In. It. Oh my, not fun for me.
Barely and unconsciously to start with, Silence offered wee snippets or occasional waves of both Grace and Solace. So, I Persisted in cultivating Silence.
In ‘Why You Need More Silence in Your Life,’ Amy Sullivan, PsyD, ABBP describes how Silence may help with lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart rate, steadying breathing, reducing muscle tension, and increasing cognition and focus. Dr. Sullivan continues that “learning to sit in Silence is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our kids. When we look internally and delve deeper into our value system and wants and needs, we can communicate at a deeper level. We have to foster that ability.”
Taking a time out for Silence, per Dr. Sullivan, may help develop “skills to have more profound thoughts, stronger relationships, increased creativity, and improved communication skills.”
In ‘Volume 1 – Thoughts on Spirituality,’ Anne, a lay apostle “encourage[s] souls to remove noise … Turn off the televisions. … Many conversations are better avoided. In this new Silence [you] will find [your] heart recollected.”
Silence was and is incorporated into my life in an easy-ish way by
• leaning back against a wall for 3, 2 or even 1 minute with eyes closed and mouth shut without my phone, or
• sitting – sans radio – looking around at trees or nature at a red light, or
• while waiting in line, soft focusing my eyes so as to not look at anything in particular while repeating the no-talk, no-phone effort.
• Once the merits of Silence became apparent and I could better tolerate it, I increased the length of sessions. Alone in a chapel or sacred space, a quiet room at home, on a walk, or sitting on the porch. Reluctantly occasionally. However, I do it anyway because without voices or electronics, Truth rises.
Inadvertently and then with intention in recent years, Silence revealed Acceptance and sage Thoughts – at first in itty pieces. What truly mattered came into Focus. And, when I feel un-Silence-y yet sense my peace is in peril and quiet would help, garnering a bit of patience and Giving Silence even a few moments can be fruitful. What arrives may be a helpful patch of calm. An insightful idea. A moment of non-frazzlement. Or, a sublime, blissful, recharging Break. Ahhh.
Ryan Holiday describes in ‘Stillness is the Key’ that cultivating Silence “was never about achieving perfect Silence – it’s about what happens when you stop contributing to the noise…We were given two ears and only one mouth for a reason, the philosopher Zeno observed. What you notice when you stop to listen can make all the difference in the world.”
Ryan Holiday says it better than I; “if we want to think better, we need to seize these moments of quiet. If we want more revelations – more insights or breakthroughs or new ideas – we have to create more room for them. We have to step away from the comfort of noisy distractions and stimulations. We have to start listening… [to] glorious, sacred Silence. The kind of Silence that lets you really start hearing.”
For me, Silence is a Divine gift. A worthwhile effort for self-reflection, stress reduction, and discernment.
In a noisy world, may you consider Silence to unveil more of your additional brilliance,