I think it’s safe to say we’re all little (or a lot) starved for silence these days. Maybe we fully know that gut feeling, the swirl of reactivity, a racing heart while sitting still, shortened breath. Maybe you’ve even blurted out that you just literally need time and space after days, months or years of squeezing every minute of every day with the elusive “to do” list.
I’m wondering if it has to do with not knowing how to create the space….maybe we’ve never been brave enough to sit with ourselves. Have we become so addicted to being entertained and distracted that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we had 30 minutes without talking, reading, eating, technology…just our own company? This reminds me of the famous quote by Blaise Pascal:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Sit with this a moment, when was the last time you kept yourself company?
Really ask yourself, how comfortable are you with silence? Do you feel that uncomfortable feeling when in conversation with someone? (This isn’t a best friend by the way – in my experience, this type of friendship deepens with those moments where words need not be said.) This is that everyday type of talking — You’ve been there, we all have. There’s a lull in the conversation, and you feel this insurmountable urge to say something…anything to fill the void. Your mind races, trying to find an intelligent thing to say. We all do it, instead of patiently listening and being present, our minds are in the background running rampant to meet the next witty thing we’re going to say after the other person stops flapping their gums.
The same goes for the feeling of needing to be busy, staying productive. We don’t give ourselves permission to just take a friggin’ break already. Even with our phones…How often do you habitually, automatically reach for your cell phone like one of Pavlov’s conditioned dogs, after it pings? Do you run it, or does it run you?
My question is, have you ever stopped long enough to actually explore that void, the gap? The silence in between and underneath sound. The calm of the morning before the sun rises and everyone else begins their chaotic day. Resting your eyes on a newborn baby and inhaling her essence. (Newborns are wise by the way, just gaze into their eyes and you’ll get it – it’s Eternity, Spirit, God, The Source, call it what you want.)
Do you know what it's like to feel the breath, your heart beating, to feel tingling, pulsing blood through your veins. That’s what it means to be here, now. How did “you” come to be? Who are you in this world? How do you “show up” in your life? Breathing is such a simple thing, but, at the same time…witnessing the process is a miracle in itself.
What would happen if you stopped trying to incessantly fill the gap, and only observed it instead? There’s enough going on in the world without us having to fill up every single moment. This is the essence of meditation…learning to be your best self.
Sometimes, meditation can be uncomfortable – which is only your resistance to what is actually here, your wishing things were different, more aligned with your liking. Everything you want or care about is on the other side of discomfort. Can you teach yourself to sit with it?