As the energies in our world speed up, all the “shiny” things in our lives become more and more enticing. Internet, social networking, streaming video, television, smart phones, mobile devices – all vie for our attention. But when and where do we allow ourselves to stop and notice what’s going on for us in our inner world?
A few years ago, a dear relative and friend came to visit. She has a hectic life and she loves to come to my home and stay for a while. It’s always wonderful to see the stress in her face melt as she relaxes into the resonant field that Peter and I have created. One day, as we were sitting outside in the courtyard, listening to a meadowlark singing, she said: “You know, I could never live the way you and Peter do. It is silent in your home. Aside from the jazz that you play while making dinner, there’s never a T.V. running. There’s no background noise. If I did that, it would make me feel more intensely and probably drive me crazy. I’m not sure that I could.”
When I did the Religious Science Practitioner Training many years ago, one of our exercises was to turn off the radio in our cars for a week – just to drive around without any noise in the car. It was astounding to see how many people in the class found it hard to do this simple exercise.
The best vacation I have ever had was the five days of silence I spent with Lola Jones and a fabulous group of people in Lola’s special retreat. The purpose of the silence was to eliminate any distractions so that we could all cultivate a closer relationship with the Divine – to be able to get our nourishment, insights and support from within, rather that seeking outside of ourselves for answers. It certainly worked for me. Not hearing my own voice, nor that of others, allowed me to feel the Presence within me and, while I have always had a strong intuitive sense, the five-day retreat strengthened it beyond measure.
With all of the distractions, the “shiny things” in our lives, pulling our attention this way and that, it can be a challenge to hear/feel/know of that guidance that only comes from within. Savoring silence is one of the best ways to feel it. So even if it is only for a few minutes a day, allow yourself a time of silence. You don’t have to actively meditate or work at it (although it may be work, at first, for some!). Just turn off the radio in the car as you drive to work. Turn off the T.V. for 30 minutes before bed. Silence your smart phone and avoid the temptation to answer that text message.
See what insights come to you when you give yourself this gift. Then send me a quick comment and let me know how it’s going.
What other ways have you found to cultivate silence?
©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012