The state of our mental health depends on many factors, especially external stimulation. There are no shortages of noise, especially in the city, of electronics, people, cars, music. Some, we seek, others are there and thankfully our body, through our senses, normalize it rapidly into the background. In this fast pace evolving World, where silence is scarce, what happens for you when it gets quiet? Do you only find it in the shower, in the bathroom, in the car, or maybe in nature? Maybe just before bed?
Do you notice your thoughts more? Do you feel sensations in your body? Were you noticing them before? With regards to the thoughts, an internal dialogue has the opportunity of presenting itself. Do you let it? Is it invasive? You may say ‘I can’t stop thinking’ or ‘Im overwhelmed’. Were you really thinking before? Or were you processing information that required cognition, and now, in this moment of diminished intrusions, do your thoughts have an opportunity to be acknowledged? Do you give your thoughts attention? Maybe you divert:* hop onto social media, flip on the telephone, call a friend, clean, contact or connect with someone, go exercise, work, audiobook, music. etc…. Or maybe you sit with it. Meditate, journal.
Two key points here:
Silence must be found.
Recognize your patterns for thought diversion.
The silence allows for the opportunity to hear, acknowledge, contemplate, detangle, resolve and integrate your thoughts, which can lead to an appreciable decrease in the mental load; a sounder mind. It may not be comfortable at first. It definitely won’t. The withdrawal from the external stimulation is powerful.
Imagine your thoughts as a person trying to get attention from you, and you ignore them, their requests, even their existence. Days, weeks, months, years. You do this to the others (thoughts), as well, since it’s simpler to focus on yourself and your current ‘priorities’; the tasks. But there’s a catch. These people all have insights and information that can help you. Finally, for whatever reason, one day, you become aware. Aware of these people that you hadn’t been acknowledging. One of them sees that you are paying attention now, and they jump at the opportunity for your acknowledgment. Their expression is possibly in a scatter since they are unaware of how long you’ll be available for them. And the others take notice, too. ‘Overrun' with people trying to express themselves to you, you retreat. You divert (see above at *). Grab a drink? Smoke? Again, catch your particular pattern, especially since these people aren’t people, they are you, your thoughts. Your thoughts are a part of you. The intentional time you spend with them will decrease the overwhelming sense of invasiveness that their expression puts on you.
So, when it goes silent, it’s a gift; an opportunity. Listen, curiously and minimize your diversions for at least 20 minutes a day. A daily practice of this will make space to organize the clutter up there, so you can be more present for life down here.
Patience. Integrate. You will reap the benefits.
- Silence -