Silence is a Gift

Posted on Dec 6, 2011

Take a moment to reflect on how often you experience silence. Likely your reflection called attention to the fact that we are a silence-resistant culture. It is rare to truly experience silence. While eating breakfast, the news is reporting. In the car, the radio is on. While exercising, the iPod is pumping music through our earphones. Throughout our days, people come and go. And our evenings are spent watching the television or busying our mind with reading. For many, the only time of silence in their lives is in bed before sleeping. Even then, we are now filling that silence with “white noise” to lull us to sleep.

Silence is rare.

Given the fact that silence is rare in our lives, it has become a foreign and even uncomfortable experience for many. With so few organic opportunities for silence and our general discomfort with creating it for ourselves, we miss out on the balance to our loud and hectic lives. It is worth persevering through your initial discomfort with silence to experience the balance it brings.

Silence is necessary.

Without the balance between loud and quiet, we manifest that lack of balance in our day-to-day lives. We experience constant mental chatter, worry, inability to focus, emotional spinning, diminished productivity, even insomnia and physiological responses like illness. The empty space we create when experiencing silence allows us to sort through the beautiful chaos. Like sliding block puzzles, it is only with the empty space that the puzzle can be solved. As many of my clients describe, a life and mind that is too full is truly stuck, congested or stagnant. It seems counterintuitive that taking time for some uninterrupted silence cultivates action and movement.

Silence is undervalued.

We live in a culture of busy. The message is that forward motion and positive change only stem from putting your shoulder to it and making things happen. Often when we push too hard for results without allowing for time to consciously and intentionally consider our direction, we end up far from where we had hoped. It takes the radical act of valuing silence and mental space in this culture of busy to build more opportunities for silence into your days.

Silence is creative.

When we are in the daily culture of busy, we are action-oriented and results-focused…checking things off the list and getting things done. No doubt there is a place for that. However, it is in the empty space, creativity flows. Silence makes room for dreams. Allowing time for reflection invites consideration of what we truly want, of what feeds our passion and how we can intentionally focus our energy in that direction. After making space for the creativity of silence, we can formulate goals and plans to manifest results to support the direction we consciously choose.

Silence is a choice.

We all have the capacity to create some practice of silence in our routine. You decide what works for you. Know that despite the cultural and internal resistance, making space for the quiet in your world is your choice. Choose to lean into that resistance and experience the gift of creative silence for yourself. Give yourself six weeks to settle into your new practice. Resist the urge to actively problem-solve or compile mental lists or to judge the experience in any way. Remember to allow it to be the creative empty space that it is.

Silence is a gift.