“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.” – Jean Arp
How does silence affect you? Do you crave it? Find it difficult to bear? Why? Is it harder for you to come by now? What is your biggest obstacle? Do you actively try to avoid silence? Why?
I was asked to elaborate on my statement last week:
“For the past week, while the kids were on spring break, I had the thirty minute commute to the clinic and back all by myself. I purposely kept the radio off which soon made me I realize how difficult it is to be alone with my thoughts. As my mind began traveling down a path I was not comfortable with I would absently reach for my phone, remember I was driving, then put it back down.”
The striking thing is I had not realized how unused to silence I had become. I am so accustomed now to filling up empty space with minutia at work or checking blog stats, writing posts, answering comments, email, perusing news sites… I had forgotten what it was like to have silence that was not meditation where I actively work to keep my mind free of the clutter. The other interesting thing is that in the midst of this constant distraction I am probably in a much better place than I have been in quite some time.
Where does my mind go when it is free to wander?
To all of the mistakes I have ever made.
To everything that has made me sad or angry or humiliated.
To every love ever lost.
My head fills with negative thoughts that tell me how ugly or stupid or selfish or unworthy I am. I worry and ruminate and tension builds until I want to cease functioning.
These thoughts serve no good purpose other than to distract me from going forward. So I am working on controlling the negative, forcing the issue of silence. Practicing. Retraining.