I used to think the idea of a silent retreat was radical and odd. After all, who would want to spend multiple days in a place with others, and not…..talk? After taking a day in silence at a yoga festival, however, the profundity of silence is clear to me now.
Just as we try to fill our bellies, our closets, our schedules, many of us are just as guilty as trying to “fill” silence in our lives. Similar to feeling our emotions, there’s something about silence that makes us uncomfortable. And yet, how much energy is expended trying to avoid silence via idle chit chat, gossiping, complaining, or other low vibrating forms of speech?
Our silence shifts us from the external to the internal and back again. We go from being talkers to listeners. We can hear our inner voice – the one we so often override by trying to make everyone else happy; when we connect to this voice we arrive at certainty and grace in our own presence. And we can hear the world with all of our senses. We become more aware of our surroundings, noticing things that we miss because our attention is diverted by our various exchanges. When we are silent, we become the witness to our inner and outer worlds.
Silence also brings conscious communication. When I could not speak, I realized how unnecessary most of what I wanted to say truly was. It filtered out the important messages (I love you, etc) from the draining “filler” talk (“wow, it’s pretty hot out there today”). I was liberated from the pressure to fill the silence and free to sit in my own peace.
Perhaps a day of silence is not possible for you. But what about a morning? Or an hour? It could just be the exchange a smile instead of the usual small talk with the clerk at the grocery store. In your silence you will find your grace. If you are caught up in people pleasing or in someone else’s drama, find reprieve in your own silence.
I’ve been on the road this last little while, eating a steady diet of kitchery, soup, and watermelon, so I’m afraid I don’t have any new creations to report. However, I am now active in the search for inspiration for new creations for when I am back in my own kitchen again. ‘Til then.