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The Art of Silence

Most of us have very little of silence about us. Even when we are not talking, our thoughts are screaming bolts of energy racing through our minds. We are suffering slights, we are smarting from injustices, we are celebrating small victories and agonizing over small failures. We are contemplating our illnesses. We are planning small revenges, and plotting quick retreats. We are a whirl of psychic road maps, loves, hates, wants, needs, dreams, fears, annoyances all vying for our attention at the same time. No wonder when we sit down with one another, we feel alienated and not close. Remember the laws of physics--that every action has an equal and opposite reaction? Our thoughts are bio-electrical. They exist as physical realities. Our minds are yelling at each other.

We could start to get some distance from all these thoughts. We could begin to free our subjugation to our thoughts and feelings by deciding to sit quietly for one hour at the same time every day and getting used to seeing how frantic our mind is, but since we are not our mind, we don't have to be frantic. We can choose a time early in the morning before our duties begin, or late at night when others have usually retired. At first we will think it is a waste of time just watching the mental garbage float by. But just watching, with no judgment, no complaint, pretty soon things will slow down. Thoughts will be less frequent. Just watch as if we were any movie patron sitting in the theater watching the play on the screen. We watch the play going on across the screen of our mind. Just calm, just silent, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Leave questions unanswered, sentences unfinished. Some people work up to doing this for literally hours. Silence is not just the absence of noise, it is the presence of ourselves.

Something of this silence will go with us during the day. People will begin to experience us as less hard to be with, less heavy. It will be almost nourishing to others, who sense on some level that when they are next to us they seem to have more space.

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