As it was getting darker outside I lit the candles in my living room. The TV was off, so was the computer. I was reading an article on my phone posted on brainpickings.com, one of my favourite thinking sites.
It was about growing older. A writer had written something about it. Well, we write a lot about many things, do we not?
It doesn’t actually matter what the article was about. Nor does it matter that it inspired me to write, which is always a good thing.
What matters is what happened when I finished reading.
The noise stopped. All of it. The noise of my thoughts as I was reading. The constant narrator in my head had nothing further to say once I finished reading the article. And all of a sudden I became acutely aware of the silence.
It wasn’t entirely dark yet. The candle light cast wonderful lighting around the room. The wall radiator made a quiet whooshing sound, indicating that it is currently heating. I could hear the wall clock in the kitchen tick tock away the seconds.
There were no other sounds. No traffic from the street, no noise from the neighbours. Nothing of any consequence. Not even the voice in my head.
So, I sat and listened to the silence for a while.
I felt like writing down my impressions right away, but I resisted. I needed the silence for a moment. Constant distraction is keeping us away from ourselves. I’ve been through a lot of emotional turmoil in recent months. Some of it exhilarating. Some of it soul crushing. Never just one extreme or the other, thankfully. Most of the time I was just happy to be. And be alive. And in love.
But every once in a while silence is required to come back to myself. The noise of some TV show I’m barely watching or have seen half a dozen times already is merely distraction. And there’s only so much you can distract yourself before everything comes rushing back and you have to deal with it after all.
Of course, I’ve also spent too much with myself lately. Thinking too much, feeling too much, mulling everything over for the umpteenth time without a change in the conclusions I inevitably arrived at. That’s not good either. And then distraction is not a bad thing.
But rarely did I simply sit in silence. And contemplation. Trying to keep all those useless repetitive thoughts away and the feelings I can do nothing about.
And it was good. The silence, I mean. Even now it is good, though the clacking away on the keyboard is a distraction as well and I wish it to be quiet again.
I know people who are never truly alone or if they are, they go after every little distraction available just so they don’t have to be alone with their thoughts and feelings. How do they touch base with themselves? How do they figure out what it is they want or feel?
It only takes a few minutes here and there. I’m going to have a very busy month ahead of me. A part of me will welcome that distraction, because I don’t want to dwell on my feelings. But I also don’t want to lose myself in all the noise.
Balance is the key. And me saying that is rather ironic, but that’s another story entirely.
Sit in quietude and solitude every once in a while. It’ll do you good. I promise.