Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THE BALM OF SILENCE




True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.  ~William Penn



            Hi everyone! I’m in Canyon, Texas, attending the Writers’ Academy at West Texas A & M.  I’ve already enjoyed the peaceful paths under tall, spreading, elms.
My soul is quieted.
I’m a writer and I love words and expression. But honestly, a constant diet of spoken words will frazzle the soul. The talking heads on television compete with the radio voices for our attention. We listen to music lyrics, hear machinery, talk on the phone, answer questions, give presentations, play video games, talk with friends, acquaintances, and strangers.
            Constant reminders of the oil spill, the failing economy, war, terrorists, and politics grate on my mind. I keep clenching my jaw and the muscles in my shoulders tighten. By the end of the day I’m worn out.
            The cure? Silence.
            I believe noise is a habit. The first thing I do when I start supper is turn on the television. The last thing I do before going to bed is watch television. Talk, talk, talk. Words fill the air.
This time last year I went to a Meditative Retreat in Connecticut, led by Jeff Pratt. We went to Mystic, CT (anyone remember the movie Mystic Pizza? It was there) and he told us to spend three hours walking around the little island we were on and say nothing. The first hour was easy. The second made me nervous. But the third is when peace broke through.
Some time this week why not turn off the television, the radio, the video games, the computer, the iPhones, iPads, for that matter, all the iStuff! Give yourself an hour of silence. Turn off the ringer on your phone and let it take a message.
I know it is strange to think about not being instantly available. However, I remember the days before cell phones and I assure you that you and your caller will survive. At the very least, put it on vibrate and only answer if absolutely necessary.
            You may be wondering what you would do for an hour. A few suggestions are: take a walk, read a book or a magazine, create something artsy, sip something refreshing while sitting outside watching nature, meditate, journal, listen only to instrumental music or the songs of nature.
            At first this may seem uncomfortable, but keep it up. Be kind to yourself. Quiet your spirit and rest.

No comments: