"Silence is a source of great strength." ~ Lao Tzu Sound clutters the mind. I am, by nature, a talker -- I love words and use them often to work out what's in my mind. But I've realized lately exactly how cluttered my mind is, that often I have to fill any silence with, if not actual words, then thoughts of words. I can't go a moment without running conversation through my mind. Silence makes me antsy, yet all that noise in my head is exhausting.
We need rest. Our minds need rest. When I began my publishing journey last year, I was on constant deadline. I was thinking about writing, listening to music to inspire my writing, talking myself through scenes for my writing, talking to others about my writing or my books or my career -- and doing nothing for me, the internal me. The realization that I'd not had a vacation from writing in over two years was illuminating. No wonder I felt burned out. No wonder my mind was tired all the time. And yet when I tried meditation, to immerse myself in the silence, it was virtually impossible. I was too used to the noise.
When I was a kid, we lived in a house with no air-conditioning. So during the summer, we slept with those big box fans running in the bedroom, usually in the window so it would blow the cooler air inside. I loved it, but I didn't love the transition from summer to winter. See, that was when the house went from no air-conditioning to only wood heat, and we went from all that glorious noise at night to complete silence. I hated it. I'd toss and turn and try to sleep, and all I could hear was the silence after that big, noisy fan was put away. The lack of noise was a void I couldn't ignore for the sake of sinking into the silence. And yet the absence of sound slowly became the norm again, and I could sleep without the interference between me and the silence.
I think, in today's busy, modern, information-filled world, the value of silence is even higher. We need the silence to calm our minds. We need to teach our kids to find themselves in the quiet rather than having to constantly be fed on chaos. The more we practice silence, the easier it becomes and the more centered we get. The bits of ourselves that we forgot existed float back to the surface. Like our creativity. Our joy. Our passion. Our hunger for something other than chaos. It's a hard transition, but one I think is well worth it.
In the silence, we rediscover who we are.
How very true that is. And what strength we find on the journey.