I used to have such a hard time getting to sleep when I’d come back from a week in NYC. I found it nearly impossible to adjust to the lack of noise at night. The silence of my suburban home was deafening compared to the menagerie of sounds I’d been accustomed to. “It’s so quiet,” I’d think. And being quiet meant that my thoughts were so much more pronounced. And an overthinking brain does not a sleeping person make!
But silence is powerful. Recently I began to meditate again. I don’t do long sits, just 20 minutes or so. I use a little timer on my phone to let me know when to stop. Meditation and silence go hand in hand. Why? Because meditation requires the mind and body to be still so that we can let our thoughts occur without judgment. In stillness, we stop being the participant and shift to the observer; watching those pesky thoughts wander around in our brains while lovingly dismissing them and returning to the breath.
Silence is a canvas. It is blank. Like this canvases you’d buy from an art supply store. How difficult would it be to paint on a used canvas or a canvas which already had a painting on it? Silence is so important.
Silence is a teacher. Okay, silence is not a conscious being with a lesson but in its way silence allows us to learn about those aspects of ourselves that we may overlook in our loud, hurried lives otherwise.
Sitting in silence may frustrate you. But it frustrates you for all the right reasons! You may think “I’m going crazy, I need to turn the TV on,” or “I can’t just sit here in silence…I need to be productive.” But what’s really happening is something quite amazing: you’re encountering YOU. You’re encountering the moment.
I mention rediscovering silence because we’ve all likely spent time in silence at one point or another. Maybe it was good or bad. Maybe it was so mundane that we forgot. But it’s time to get back to silence and discover the lessons it has for us.