Living alone encourages me to lead a somewhat quiet life. With no one else to talk to, I find myself thinking silently, not verbalizing my thoughts.
It’s not necessarily a bad or harmful thing; it creates a tranquil environment, a place to speak in a quiet voice that only I can hear.
I recently read an essay written by a man who retreated in a monastery for a short stay. He speaks of the eloquence of the silence and the revelatory inner excitement of using sound only for prayer and chanting. The silence, he says, begins to take on a voice of its own, either yours or some other inner source.
Of course, silence in pursuit of holiness and used as a means of focusing totally on communication with God, has ancient roots back to the third century when men became hermits, isolating themselves from the world in a desert setting.
Later on congregations were established by those who wanted to live in silence in a shared community.
What I’m finding about silence is that it can heighten your sensitivity to things around you that you otherwise might ignore or not even notice. The rhythmic ticking of my clocks adds a kind of syncopation to my solitude and it helps keep me tuned in to the time passing. In a world so inundated with the flow of information and so fine-tuned to all of the voices that we think we need to hear - pundits, aggressive dissenters on all sides of a situation, the solutions to our problems that carry a price tag... the simple sound of the clockworks is a welcome relief.
Then there are the happy sounds; music, children laughing or in play, sweet conversations that can touch your heart... these are the noises that help make the world infinitely more livable. Those are the sounds that feed your soul.
So should we all be seeking some kind of contemplative state of being? Should we be more deliberately seeking to bring our noise level down? Should we be turning down the volume? Perhaps a little of all of the above.
I notice that quiet is anathema to some - life equals noise and movement. I find now that both of those desirables have much less allure to me.
I find that thinking and going through my personal store of ideas and set aside resolutions can bring a lot of satisfaction and sense of personal accomplishment. So why would I not like to carve out some quiet time each day?
While I enjoy watching TV, I’m not actively watching except for a few hours at night. I try to be selective and not keep the screen alive if I don’t need to. Now my Smart TV even tells me how much energy I save while I’m not watching.
Since so many things happening in the world seem to have high stakes, we tend to want to be on top of it all the time. I’ve discovered that unless it’s something of the gravest concern, we can all wait to find out.
So, for me, a little solitude is a good thing, perhaps you may want to try it as well.