When was the last time you were quiet? I mean really quiet. That intuitive quietness where the power of the moment lay not in the words spoken but in the silence.
In this day and age it seems we’re always running, always busy and always striving. It reminds me of the lyrics to “Non-Stop” – of one of my favourite songs – from the musical Hamilton.
“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?… How do you write like you need it to survive?… Are you running out of time?”
Which I would rephrase to “Why do you work like you’re running out of time? Why do you scroll, why do you hashtag, why do you swipe like you need it to survive? Are you running out of time?
Our society has taken our time and idealised being busy; yet has looked down on doing nothing which we now call being lazy. And no one wants to be called lazy so we do everything to keep up the appearance of doing something at the cost of our own sanity and serenity. We’ve given the phrase “I’m busy” far too much prominence and “I’m resting” far too much insignificance.
The World Health Organisation often talks about the pollution of land, noise, water, air, light when really I think the worst kind is that of the mind.
Yes, the digital age has created our greatest technology advances and we can access the world anyone wherever we go. And yet in the palm of our hand the very thing that has brought us the greatest convenience has also brought us our greatest sense of anxiety.
By the way, did you know that research shows that the use of excessive social media is like taking cocaine? They say receiving “likes” and “comments” activates the same part of the brain as snorting cocaine.
So, why I say the pollution of the mind is the worst is because we can’t see it, smell it, taste it, touch it or hear it so how are we supposed to cure it? We have a generation screaming out to be heard but it’s not just the millennials; it’s adults alike who live with the same insecurities of their childhood and just want to be liked.
So we do it all to keep up and it’s a calamity. We exercise to get fit, we eat to fuel our bodies, we get dressed up to look good. When it comes to our mind we take energy drinks, coffee or medication not knowing that the real rescue remedy is restfulness.
Perhaps we don’t get quiet enough because we don’t know the benefits of The Power of Silence.
· The Power of Silence gives the brain a break.
· The Power of Silence promotes physical health, lowers blood pressure, which can help prevent heart attack.
· The Power of Silence produces creativity – and allows you bring about some of your greatest work.
· The Power of Silence provides a sensitivity that allows us to hear the voice of our creator.
Personally, I’m still in the process of learning to still my mind and be silent. Whether it’s 5 minutes before I get out of bed in the morning, taking a walk in nature (and not snapping a few pictures for Instagram) or pausing during the day to just listen to the sound of my own breath.
Most recently a friend of mine challenged herself to give up social media use for a month. After the first week, she said she felt so liberated as she traded in the time she spent on apps for reading actual books. I think this is something I’ll definitely try!
I haven’t worked in a disciplined routine where I consciously practice mindfulness or stillness – but the moments where I have succeeded I’ve found that in the silence I’ve found the answers I was looking for and a renewed sense of strength.