Monday, February 8, 2016

On Quiet

My dearly beloved friend, Betsy, no longer in the physical world, understood quiet and silence. Many were drawn to her because she seemed so at peace with quiet. Last month she came to me in a dream. She told me to be quiet.

I have trouble with quiet. Even when I am not speaking, my mind is chattering away. Early on, I learned that I could direct my scattered mind by talking to myself. If I managed and directed the inner-dialogue, as if in an interview, I could steer my mind away from the stories I didn’t like –the stories that made me feel sad, or angry, or worried, or incomplete. I got very good at this tactic, believing I was managing my monkey mind.

Lately, I’ve been rethinking the whole thing. Why not stop and allow my thoughts to actually go to the worrisome places. This terrifies me. But what will I do with the thoughts once they appear? Perhaps they will require action, action I’m afraid of. Or more profoundly, if I stay with the thought I may get a glimpse of what it is like to simply sit with it and not feel propelled to fix it. Witness and release it like a fluffy cloud moving slowly and gracefully across the sky. If I can be present with the thought, see it for what it really is perhaps I can come to a peaceful acceptance that it is just another story.

Silence, Listening
the art of cultivating solitude

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

Some suggested reading/viewing:

Explore these questions:

·       What distracts you from quiet/solitude?
·       Write about any or all of the following, silence, listening, & solitude. What is your relationship with the words and your understanding of them?
·       How do silence, listening, and solitude affect your relationship with your creative process?

Suggested activities:

Select one or more of these “quiet spaces” activities for the next month

·       If you always turn the radio or music on in your car – try at least one trip per day without any sound. Tune in to your environment and yourself.
·       If you often turn the TV on at night – try one evening without any screen time. What did you do?
·       Plan one 10-minute (minimum time) tune out time per day. Lie on your bed or on the floor, go for a walk, sit on a chair outdoors, No cellphones, no computers.
·       Go somewhere or stay home. LISTEN to your pet, someone else’s pet, your house sounds, REALLY listen…JUST LISTEN -- what do you hear?
·       Go to a piece of creative work and take some time to look. Just look, don’t respond. What do you see? Listen to what it is trying to tell you.
·       Try being quiet (no words) for one hour, one morning, afternoon or evening, or one whole day. How was it?
·      Try this activity with one or more of your friends or family members – we like to call it Solider of Love. Create a space for anyone in the group to call a one hour Soldier of Love. This means the person who called it can have the floor for one hour to share, rant , discuss, ask questions about anything that is troubling them. COMPLETE listening from the group –complete support.