We, as a society, have a strange relationship with silence. We treat it like an annoying friend that keeps trying to interrupt our conversation. We avoid it using, “um’s” and “ah’s”, we interrupt it using coughs or we try to eliminate it altogether by playing background music.
We Are Terrified of Silence
Why are we so afraid of silence? When did it change from something thought provoking and necessary into a nuisance? Why do yoga studios decidedly leave out the meditation portion of the class? The focus is always on the yang, the movement, the sound, the conversation and never on the yin. Yin is listening, contemplative, subtle. Movement is sustained with periods of rest. Life is sustained with reflection. The two depend on each other. Without one, the other could not exist.
As a student of journalism, I was taught to use silence as a tool to encourage my interviewee to talk more about a subject. I learned that people are naturally uncomfortable with long pauses and often fill it with unnecessary chatter.
What if we paused a little more often? What if we were more comfortable with thoughtful silence in a conversation? What could we learn from the each other? What type of energy exchange would result? Isn’t it in the silent moments that we sometimes learn the most? Often its those beautiful, quiet moments are the most memorable.
Sit In Silence & See What Happens
Practice sitting in a quiet space listening to the sound of your breath for five minutes every day. The inner chatter may get the best of you at the start but eventually, your thoughts will get quieter. And when the distraction ceases, you can learn to appreciate silence like you would a symphony.
Imagine if only for five minutes, the world went completely silent.
We collectively paused…
What would you hear?
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