December 28, 2015
I started practicing being quiet occasionally (a euphemism for shutting up) many years ago. At the time I had the patience and attention span of a gerbil. My lack of patience, and inability to choose the focus of my attention, created problems in every area of my life. Getting quiet was my solution.
Here are some of the outcomes of shutting up and being quiet that I’ve experienced.
I’m more aware of the contents of my mind. Although my mind is still as ready to lead me around by the nose as ever, I find it easier not to impulsively act on what it’s telling me to do.
By becoming more familiar with the repetitive chants in my mind, I’m seeing how I work, and more importantly, seeing what doesn’t work. What doesn’t work is believing everything I think. Turns out that the vast majority of my thoughts are mindless ramblings that bear no resemblance to anything I want running the show!
I’ve developed a wry affection for my limitations that feels similar to what I felt for my son when he was young and dumb and did something thoughtless or rude. (Young boys are big on body function noises.) Taking myself less seriously has given me a surprising and delightful sense of freedom.
I’m noticing I’m more curious and seem to have a stronger desire to understand the people in my life, vs trying to force them to understand me. Actually, if this last development was the only change, it would be enough. Trying to force anybody to do anything they don’t want to do is exhausting! Even thinking they should is exhausting.
I’m looking forward to seeing if the benefits continue to multiply. This doesn’t mean you won’t be hearing me talk…a lot…it just means that I’m going to keep playing with the idea that sometimes shutting up can be more powerful than words.