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What Are We Hiding From?

“What are you doing?”

“Um, I’m turning off the TV. Our show is done.”

“So? What if there’s something else on?”

“What do you mean? Our show is over!”

It was a baffling interaction for both of us – newly wed and still adjusting to living together. My husband watched a lot of TV. He grew up in a house where the TV was always on. Lots of people live like that – the TV on constantly, just to provide “background noise.” I never watched much TV. In my house the TV was only on if we had chosen to sit down and watch a particular show. The whole concept of “channel surfing” was bizarre to me.

Fifteen years later, we have negotiated peace around our TV watching habits. And we have rejected the idea of “background noise.” Even before we had our daughter, we were averse to the idea of having constant stimulus from TV, radio, or music. Once we had a child, the value of silence grew in direct proportion to her ability to make noise!

In a prior post, I asked what would happen if we allowed ourselves to see the magic in life, as opposed to the magic of playing with stuff. This week I want to explore the question of why we don’t let ourselves see life’s magic.

I am part of a meditation group, and in last week’s meeting, someone asked why we avoid silence. For me, the reason is clear. For decades, silence only brought me the voice of my inner critic. While I didn’t choose to numb out with TV, I did use many distractions to avoid being silent with myself. I read voraciously. I talked with friends. I went out with friends. I listened to music and played with my cats. Anything to avoid the silence of my inner voice.

But it is in our inner silence that we find peace and magic.

This is why meditation of all kinds, including the simple act of deep breathing, is so powerful. Because it allows silence to enter our lives. In my previous post I talked about Marie Kondo. I think it’s significant that she begins every consult by silently greeting the house. And while there’s obviously a lot of the consultation that is skipped or glossed over in the TV show, that one act is always included. It’s clearly a crucial piece for her. And I can see why. If you haven’t watched the show, here’s what happens. Marie will sit on the floor and be silent. Sometimes she puts both hands on the floor. Sometimes she bows her head to the floor. The homeowners sit in silence as well and sometimes they cry. In addition, Marie Kondo requires the clients to touch every object. There is value, apparently, in the physical act of contact and silence. I suspect this is in large part the magic of her techniques. She allows for silence, physical connection, and respect.

What keeps you from silence?

Meditation is a time honored form of embracing silence, and I’ve heard all kinds of excuses for avoiding it. People say they fall asleep when they try to meditate, or that their minds won’t shut off, or they become too anxious, or they simply don’t have time. I suspect that the root at the bottom of these excuses, however, is a deep sense of discomfort. To be silent is to be vulnerable. Our thoughts and words and actions protect us against the criticisms of others and ourselves.

Most of us don’t believe this. We don’t believe that we are inherently worthy.

We fear that the universe is waiting for a chance to disapprove of us. But in fact, the universe is waiting to approve. God wants nothing more than the chance to say I Love You. This is the truth I have I learned as I have practiced silence. What do you think you could learn?

 

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One Comment

  1. This is absolutely amazing. So much of our American culture is faster, faster, louder, and more is better. Contentment. Enough, and Quiet is avoided, if you discipline yourself to use these someone rushes in to fill the space and return you to the constantly stimulated by external influences trend everyone else is subscribed to partaking. Just let me decide for myself, quiet, pauses and purposeful resting time is essential for health and balance.

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