I suppose I could make some smart comment about the silence of my blog over the past month and and try to link it to the St Isaac quote … but the truth is that I haven’t felt much like writing over the past month. Some of this has been down to the busy-ness of life, but it just hasn’t been something I’ve wanted to do. But, still, I’ve continued to find, read, and reflect on inspirational quotes, many of which – even if not included here – have focused on the benefits of silence and solitude, gratitude, generosity and compassion.
Silence is something that seems to frighten some people. They can’t stand being alone or not ‘doing anything’, and yet these to me are some of the most precious times. Too much time spent with others and constantly ‘doing things’ (usually fairly meaningless ‘achievements’) leaves me frazzled and desiring peace, solitude and time for reflection. No internet connection? Bliss. No mobile signal? Wonderful. The stress comes when I return to that world and see all the messages that have come in during my so-called absence. But the answers to that problem lie elsewhere …
Travelling in the quiet zone on the train recently was illuminating. Watching people run outside the carriage to take their calls or – sadly, and more commonly – loudly answering their phones in the ‘quiet’ zone and declaring their business to all those present for the next 10 minutes – is it really too difficult to switch off literally and metaphorically even for just a few minutes or hours on the train? Missing a call is unlikely – in most cases – to involve the loss of life or endangerment of others – and yet the ‘need’ to keep connected at all times seems to drive many people to distraction.
I think the antidote to this attachment is more silence and less distraction. Of course our minds are distracted, and silence will show that to be the case, perhaps alarmingly so to someone who has never just stopped and listened to and observed their own mind; but we need hardly add to the melee in our minds with constant chatter/music/news/social media/work and so on. If we don’t stop to listen, in silence, to our minds then we cannot begin to know ourselves.