Do you ever give yourself permission to be silent so you can listen?
Or, are you terrified of what you might find there?
I recently had the blessing of going away for several days with a small group of women from my meditation community. During that time away to relax, rejuvenate, and go within, there were plenty of opportunities to be silent. In addition to gathering in circle for meditation some of us observed silence for an entire day as well.
When I tell people this, their immediate reaction is:
I could NEVER do that!
They get visibly uncomfortable and start going on about how they could never, ever be in silence for an entire day.
So I ask – why? They dance around the answer for a while…throwing out excuses like “I’d go nuts” and “What would I DO?” but at the end of the day what they mean is…
I’m afraid of what I’ll discover if I am alone with myself (my thoughts, my feelings) in silence.
Bottom line: this is the source of the discomfort. And, I understand. The first time I ever did an extended period of silence was when I did my first weekend at a powerful retreat. This was more than ten years ago and I was definitely NOT the personal growth/spiritual retreat type (it was my first). I was terrified but willing.
You know what? I didn’t die. That’s right… I may have felt awkward, uncomfortable, and more than ready to break the silence at the end, but no lives were lost. I experienced the world and myself in a different way. When you aren’t babbling on about something, you truly can and do observe others and yourself differently. I’ve personally found that there is so much that gets said in the course of a normal day that doesn’t add to the conversation. It is just noise to fill the space. In this ongoing noise is where we lose touch with our intuition and ourselves. After all you can’t hear the whispers when there’s all that cacophony going on.
Consciously observed silence breaks that pattern.
Now, hear me clearly: just because you’ve decided to observe silence on the outside (what is spoken) doesn’t mean your mind is suddenly clear and ripple free like a lake in summer. Oh no, no, no. Quite the opposite. [Read more…]