We don’t live in a culture that loves silence.
There is very little time between the time that silence commences and our powerful need to fill it. When with friends, we feel awkward when silence falls between us. When alone, we seek to stimulate our minds whenever we’re awake. Nothingness is uncomfortable. It makes us feel vulnerable.
I’ve been relatively comfortable with occasional moments of silence between friends. But silence in my own mind? Never. Even when I’m taking a coffee break, taking public transportation or waiting for an appointment, I fill that space with something. I check my phone, I turn on music, I watch TV, I read.
It’s as though if my mind is not engaged in something, then something is not right.
But, oddly enough, it is in those infrequent moments of nothingness that I truly allow myself to rest. In that unplanned, unfilled, un-busy time, there’s an intangible quietness that comforts me beyond words.
Allowing myself to spend even a few minutes unengaged in some form of media or communication has made the rest of my moments more intentional, more productive. Slowing down in those “in-between” moments gives me energy for the demanding tasks of each day.
I’m challenging myself to be silent more. To be okay with not constantly consuming something. To be okay with nothingness filling my senses. To take deep breaths. To trust that the world will continue spinning even when I’m not working.
I’m embracing silence.
Would you join me?
Here are some ways to enjoy those silence throughout your day:
1) In between appointments or meetings, if I arrive early: taking a few deep breaths with eyes closed.
2) Shutting off screens and electronics half an hour before I plan to sleep. Allowing myself to start resting before I plan on falling asleep, instead of crashing, exhausted, onto my bed.
3) Not feeling the need to watch a video, read blogs or shop online when I eat alone. To savor the food I’m eating and allow my mind to wander, or to go nowhere at all.
4) To think twice before speaking just to fill the silence between friends. To show warmth and joy in ways other than talking.
Do you enjoy silence? What do you find challenging about it? I’d love to know!