Monday, May 18, 2009

Silence is Golden



How much silence do you have in your life?

If you are even a bit like me, silence may not be that "golden" to you.

It might be something that you actively avoid...for fear of boredom, or wasted time, or out of an addiction to constantly checking all the "noisy" connector devices in our lives (e.g. cell phones, Blackberry's Facebook etc).

Well, I am trying to overcome my aversion to silence.

I'm actually trying to embrace it.

Because in my constant need to be in touch and engaged all the time, I am realizing that I am drowning out the sound of my own thoughts. And my own creativity.

I commute every day in and out of Grand Central on a train route that has the most incredible views of the Hudson River.

But rather than enjoying the view and savoring this 35 minutes of "quiet time", I check my email, check my Twitter, check my Facebook updates, read a book, read a magazine, etc. etc.

So I am now on an enforced "silence appreciation" mode. For at least a few times a week, I purposely keep the Blackberry in my purse, I don't stop at Hudson News and buy the latest magazine, I keep my book club book in my briefcase...and I look out the window.

This is actually much more difficult than it sounds.

Especially for the first few minutes. I can literally hear my Blackberry calling out to me, like a Siren.

I purposely don't put on my ipod, because I think that's just substituting one kind of "noise" for another.

But if I can hold out for the first few minutes, and keep my eyes focused out the window- gradually I begin to relax and let my mind wander.

And slowly I find myself listening instead to the voices inside my head. Not the scary Sybil kind. The kind that open up new possibilities. Even new ideas for blog posts (like this one).

Don't assume you are getting enough silence. Try to be more conscious of opportunities to tune out the world and tune in to your own voice.

You might just like what you hear.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?

Are you getting enough quiet time?

4 comments:

  1. i too have been exploring the notion of silence, and what is interesting, or challenging, is a meditative silence. tuning in, not to your thoughts as graspable ideas, but as things that enter and exit your brain, like waves. then tuning in to the sounds that you hear, and how they come and go as well. then tuning in to the sensations in your body and how the aches and pains say hello, dwell for a bit, and then leave.

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  2. Julie@BrandTwist.comMay 19, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Thanks for sharing. Do you find it difficult to get into that state? Does it require dedicated time and space? How do you feel when it's finished and do you see any positive applications?

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  3. not sure that meditation is a "state" as much as a process. the act of being mindful. of paying attention to sounds, sensations, and most importantly, the breath, and then coming back to the breath or focus when you head wanders off.

    it does take time and space. but your train time sounds like good for both.

    as for positive application. perhaps some space. some clarity?

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  4. For my "quiet time" I like to do yoga at least once per week--any kind will do it but I think Bikram (or another hot version) is the best for this. I think whats true of lots of creative types, is that we are all over the place--our mind is in one place (then another, then another), body is someplace else. What is interesting to me about yoga and specifically yoga in a 110 degree room, is that it truly commands your presence all around. So midway thru the session, you are super focused on just breathing in the heat and your thoughts!

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