“It has been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap,” or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created-including our own bliss.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Lately, I’ve had very little to say! I can’t count the number of times I’ve hit delete towards attempts on writing, or speaking. But in this silence something beautiful is evolving. A peace, an acceptance, and a type of contentment with what is Now!
I can’t pinpoint to exactly when this epiphany occurred, and I must admit it’s not the first time I’ve felt the need to just shut up! Every now and then I find myself immersed into books and articles that rage about the benefits and wisdom behind silence.
But, before I venture out to inspire you, let’s first define silence as it means to me. I’m not talking about being mute, unresponsive, absent from your surroundings. In fact in my type of silence, I’ve been more present to what really matters. To me silence means to speak less and listen more, talk when needed, choose wiser words, empathize with the receiver of the words, not repeat what’s already being said, and only be part of conversations that need me. It means to use fewer words, more emotion and even more action. It means to take time out from all types of media, people and things that require me to always be thinking of what to say, how to say, and when to say.
Let’s begin! It happened very naturally, right at the start of Ramadan as it does for most of us. As we plunge full force into worship, to purify ourselves, to purge out toxins mind, body & soul. This month as we know it, is nothing short of a miracle whereby, previously challenged efforts to be the best version of ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually are executed almost innately. As I bid farewell to this month a type of sadness settled within. But this time, a few weeks later, I’ve managed to keep a clarity, a focus and a peace of mind (well for the most part).
No thoughts of “I should be, I can be, I need to, I want to…” I’m usually planning, scheduling, working, occupied by kids, work, family, chores, and responsibilities…I haven’t rushed to write, to post, to update, to work obsessively, to text, to listen, to talk. I simply take each moment as it comes, and let the last one go as it pleases. If I’ve done something inspiring, monumental or even minimal in that moment than it’s a blessing, and I pat myself on my back, and if I haven’t than in that too is a blessing and deserves a pat on my back.
What did I do differently post Ramadan?
I allowed the silence to continue.
Many times, the heart doesn’t want the chatter, the noise, the gain, the rush. It wants to enjoy little meaningful pleaures, love, peace, joy, kindness, & compassion. Everything you can attain from uncomplicated, simple things & people in your life right now.
I’ve always admired those who are not uncomfortable with silence. People that are able to sit in a restaurant and not feel compelled to speak, be at a park ,yet enjoy the stillness of words on the page of a book, or be among people yet appreciate their presence without the need to make noise. In fact, many years ago, I cringed at this very quality of my husband. And now it’s one I’ve learned great lessons from. Sometimes there is a deeper communication in silence.
“Surely silence can sometimes be the most eloquent reply.” Ali Ibn Talib r.a
I have learned from this silence, about myself, my family, my loved ones, my surroundings, than I have from any material I’ve ever found in media, books and the like.
“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
It doesn’t have to be all day, all the time. Take out some time out of your day, and simply choose to excuse yourself from any type of loud reaction. In this silence, you will find answers to things that matter. You will learn what and who needs and deserves your effort, your actions. As I age, I realize that the latter is of great importance, as my time becomes increasingly valuable. Spreading myself thin over any and everything is not a healthy option any more. And it this silence that which is important speaks to me.
I’m not sure how long I can keep this up, but there will be positive consequences even if I come back to visit this state of silence every couple of days ,weeks, or months. I know that even the smallest steps towards taking care of my mind, can have profound effects on my overall health, life and of those I love.
Tips for My type of Silence.
- Don’t force yourself to stop thinking. Let yourself just be.
- Don’t judge your thoughts, instead treat them like a wave in the ocean, accept as they come, and watch them dissipate as they leave.
- Pause and reflect on the need to speak and proceed as needed.
- Occupy your tongue with Dhikr (remembrance of the Almighty).
- Listen to your heart, be kind to it, be gentle with yourself, use nice words
- Let the noise around you be!
- Look more and speak less.
- Observe more and judge less.
- Each day take time out for nature. Enjoy the colors, breeze, sounds outside.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about that.” Rumi