Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stillness, silence and solitude

Stillness, silence and solitude
"Shut up! I can't hear myself think!" Have you heard, felt or said this? It is so noisy you can't think. You feel bombarded and overwhelmed. You can't concentrate or focus. There is so much clamouring for your attention, you don't know where to start.... sound familiar?
Have you ever wondered why every major religion has a meditative, prayerful, or retreat in solitude component? Why images of meditating monks on mountain tops resonates with us? Or solitary walks on beaches? 
(Picture taken this morning from my front veranda.)
Everyone recognises the need for stillness, silence and solitude, but how many of us get it, do it, experience it regularly? If you live in a big city, you never get a moment's silence, even in the depth of night, there is a background roar of traffic, machinery, artificial light dims the magnificence of the stars. You are never alone. Yet in the crowds we can feel the greatest happy are you with your own company?
We are busy in a noisy, crowded world. When do you lay back, switch off, take time out? Think. Contemplate, stare. Rebalance to our natural state of serenity and calmness?
For most people in today's world, space for stillness, silence and solitude has to be scheduled and planned. Often it is not a priority against other competing demands.
Yet in the spaces we leave for stillness, silence and solitude, can be our greatest creative moments, insights, brilliant concepts conceived. Light bulb moments, life changing decisions. Without effort they come bidden into the spaces we allow. For humans contemplative time is essential to unwind and de-stress. To organise our thoughts and make sense of our lives.
Recently I visited Sydney for business. I was acutely aware of my senses being overloaded, by sounds and sights. I enjoyed the variety, intensity and excitement of the city. But I felt relieved to be home on the farm where there is not a billboard in sight. The silence is deafening and the stars are brilliant in the night sky. I am blessed to have this space around me all the time. But how do my city cousins cope? They are immune, unaware and unconscious, it has become background noise they ignore. In this way, we cope.
When you turn your senses off to the "hurly burley," it enables you to survive and thrive in a busy crowded environment.  You focus on what you need to do and the rest is filtered out. There is a risk that you will filter out some stuff you need to hear, feel and do.  That you disconnect from your awareness and consciousness. Good news, easy to fix, just make sure you have time for stillness, silence and solitude; and it doesn't have to be hard, try these;
·         Turn the radio/music  off sometimes
·         Turn off the TV for a day or a week
·         Visit a national park for a day and get into the bush
·         Meditate, pray or reflect
·         Listen more than talk
·         Get out of town to star gaze
·         Be alone
·         Find a place that is still or silent, and be still or silent in it
·         Lie on some grass and watch clouds or tree leaves
·         Be unoccupied with anything
·         Have a day doing nothing but whatever you feel like...
Finding space in your life for stillness, silence and solitude is a precious gift to yourself. You will be surprised at the results as you reconnect with feelings, sensations, feedback from your inner voice, yourself.
So next time you schedule the meeting, the shopping, whatever, plan some time for silence, stillness and solitude. Be amazed at what you discover within your own head space.
 4me2realize uses self reflection in the Journey section to help you hear your inner voice, to contemplate your life and make sense of what you do amidst the noise and clutter.
Wishing you stillness, silence and solitude....

Castaly Lombe -  Chief of Makin' Things Happen
Director Anti-Chaos Systems Pty Ltd

"Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
Phone +61 1 300 344 070

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