“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation…tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a grey vegetation.” ― Jean Arp … written in 1957
When was the last time you went two full days without saying a single word? Without the distractions of phones, email, texting, work or anything else that occupies you and your mind?
I recently had they chance to complete our latest assignment of 2 days of complete silence. I decided the only way to really experience it would be to go into the mountains and isolate myself from everyone.
I learned a lot about myself and how I think. I learned how uncomfortable I can be without the “fluff” I have managed to fill my mind with. I learned that when you have the quiet, and the calm, when you aren’t on auto pilot, you can get some good thinking in. Your thoughts slow down, you can really meditate on the simplest things.
After finishing my time in silence I thought about how I would like this to become a regular part of my routine. And I wanted to justify to myself, why taking the time was so important. So here goes.
Silence and reflection is essential. A car engine needs to be cooled down, especially after a long or hard drive. We should give our minds the same opportunity. Scheduled periods of reflection, need to be apart of our day. We are convinced that everything is needed NOW. We are plugged in 24/7. Getting a chance to recharge the batteries is important for long term engine health.
We are living by the clock. I think I was about halfway through the first day before I stopped looking at my watch every 15 minutes. Time seemed to be going by at a snails pace. I was fidgeting the whole time. Finally, about dinner time, I stopped thinking about the time and about what I really wanted out of the experience. We obviously have some time constraints in day to day lives, but after this experience, I am going to spend less time worrying about what time it is and more time thinking about how I’m spending that time.
Simple is better. Out in the middle of no where, I started thinking about all the writers I admire so much, and the things they were able to accomplish. I realized that the greatness came from the lack of distractions. Slowing down. Devoting themselves to a singleness of purpose, and enjoying the simple pleasures of mindfulness. They were called recluses, hermits. But It was in their isolation that their works of art emerged. They showed that there is a different, and perhaps better, way to live. One that focuses on the truly important things in life.