“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.“Albert Einstein
I decided a week ago to find a day to practice silence for 24 hours. That silence begins as soon as I finish this post. What does it mean to practice silence? I can tell you only what it means to me. No computer, no phone, no talking, no listening to music, no reading…no input whatsoever for 24 hours.
Why would ANYONE want to do this?
Imagine walking up to a beautiful pond and stepping to the edge to view your reflection. You see some rocks at the shore and decide to throw one into the water. It completely distorts your reflection. Now imagine several rocks being thrown in consistently over and over for an extended period of time. You could look into that pool for hours and not see a true reflection of yourself. Silence, to me, is when I stop throwing distractions into my everyday life and allow the water to become calm. I can see myself clearly. It can be intimidating to know that when the water calms, you might not like what you see looking back at you, which is why so many people struggle – or even avoid- taking the time and space to do this. It is however a deeply personal and powerful tool to help navigate through life.
The decision to engage in a silent journey during this time of forced physical disconnection from others may seem odd. So many of us feel so isolated already. But what we do is reach for our phones to text someone, check our social media, post or tweet something…anything to fill the void. It is an addiction to stimulation – not true connection – that so many of us share.
It gets to be that hours go by that our own voice, our own original thought is completely drowned out by listening, reading or watching the voices of so many others. And yet we still feel isolated and alone.
This is where I have found that practicing silence for a day, half a day or even a couple of hours can be incredibly powerful. And by silence I don’t mean shutting off all sight and sound. I mean taking a break from actively manipulating your senses and simply letting the world come to you. You can start small and build up. You do not have to just sit and stare at a wall all day. I do simple tasks around the house and spend time with my pets. I meditate, go grocery shopping – and my favorite thing to do is just take a walk and listen to the sounds the world brings to me. I have taken a day of silence a couple of times in my life and found it to be one of the most rewarding gifts I can give myself. With everything going on today I feel it is time to bring this to myself again. At a certain point perhaps you can ask yourself when was the last time you just sat and gave yourself time to let the waters calm. I promise if you try this even once, the payoff will be worth it. And if you make a practice of it, it will change your life.
“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”Mahatma Gandhi