“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” -Paul Simon; 1963
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter- and bleed.”-Ernest Hemingway
There is a saying that the biggest enemies of writing are distractions.
What do you think about that?
My goal in joining Medium; (this is the 2nd article posted through the partnership program, but I have posted for a while before this) is to take a novel idea and write about it to hear back from an audience of readers, peers, and writers. Seems simple enough?
From the beginning of this process, I have been writing daily and enjoying the self-imposed, never-ending deadline. However, I have felt the powerful pull of literally everyone and everything on me as I sit down in my dimly lit studio to write each day.
Silence is a rare commodity. It should be free and limitless and vast and epic. Silence shouldn't be something you must summit Everest to find or raft the entirety of the Grand Canyon to discover. It should just "Be."
However, most humans on planet earth in the present time do not have the opportunity for unlimited quantities of Silence with which to access and fill with their heart's creations.
Silence's ideal harmonics and poetics present us with an open vessel, waiting for our channeled creations to sprout forward to stir the great stew of universal consciousness.
The most challenging part of Silence is finding it, keeping it, and using it correctly for its optimum capacity.
Even if we carve out space, shutting the office door and leaving all electronics outside, there is still a loud and chatty person in the room, banging on us to pay attention. This person is named; Our Minds.
Silence is the Eden behind a never-ending gauntlet of doorways, locked — one after the next. You've got the first physical challenge of finding and inhabiting space, which is yours, quiet and uninterrupted.
Next, you've got the challenge of time. How much "time" in Silence can you harness? How much before your people or animal companions ask what's for dinner? When can we go outside for a walk? The phones are ringing, or at least someone is coming to tell you someone is trying to reach you (unsuccessfully and insistently.)
As mentioned, your own mind is likely the loudest and biggest doorway to break through. Ideally, you've been meditating from a young age, and you study and practice mindfulness.
You spend your free time practicing tai chi, rock balancing, classical guitar, and yoga. All allow you a peaceful space to dwell inside the now, while balancing your copy of Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth" on your head. Right?
During the quarantine, you either found a vast well of silent space to play in or the opposite came true as you found yourself parenting, caregiving, and juggling to balance your work and home life with no break in sight the past three months—much love to you friends.
If we do have the focus and space and the opportunity to live with human and animal beings who respect our need to write in Silence, what are the benefits?
1. You may greet yourself, and possibly it has been a long time.
HI! I'm Josh. You may have seen me around. I've been pretty busy, so…
Hi Josh..I’m Silence.
But seriously, what are the benefits here?
Silence allows you to hear and feel your own thoughts, especially those ruminating ones that cycle and keep you up at night. The benefit of spending time with them during the day, they may bug you less when you're trying to sleep.
2. You can download, create, communicate and express through writing all that has been knocking around inside you. Journal. Write to Aunt Nancy. Throw down a Haiku, or a narrative poem. Silence is the empty pool into which you can pour a novel, or a long manuscript.
Lately, I started to write a list of Irish Blessings that seem to come through me during silent meditations. Getting TO Silence is the way to jam open the door with a permanently wedged door stopper each day you show up.
3. Physically, Silence is calming. Try this. Focus 100% on how you feel head to toe when in Silence alone, under the classification of "a sense of physical calm." Then, focus 100% on how you feel head to toe around one or more people. Enough said. Easy experiment.
4. Amp up the volume on your intuitive abilities by spending time in Silence. Results seem to flood in even if you are meditating for 20 mins twice a day. You may notice more "inner knowing," synchronicities and aha moments, spending time with the inner spaces of your awareness.
5. Collaborate with your new best friend; Deep Breathing. Hi lungs. Buckle up. I'm sending down some organic, fresh, juicy oxygen for you. Here comes! (Repeat.)
6. The more you consider responding (by waiting in Silence,) vs. reacting, you may start to craft and choose words more selectively. (You can't get in too much trouble by holding on to Silence instead of firing off a rant.) Listening may also become one of the skills you hone, allowing others to feel safe and comfortable sharing with you.
"Being silent means more than just holding your tongue. It means listening for the softest, most subtle sound of all – the sound of the soul." – Tijn Touber
7. Not to get too technical into mindfulness, but Silence is a great platform to play with and remember that we are NOT our thoughts, and we are NOT our emotions. They are just clouds that can float on by. Relief!
8. There is a reason prayer is often done in Silence. They say that prayer is speaking to God, and meditation is listening. (Or the Universe, or All or Source.) Silence also creates space to hear your highest wisdom.
“Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.” ~ Rumi
In the book "The Gift" Poems by Hafiz, the author writes, "For Centuries, Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320–1389) has been a magnificent friend to the human spirit. (i)
“Silence” by Hafiz
A day of Silence
Can be a pilgrimage in itself.
A day of Silence
Can help you listen
To the Soul play
In marvelous lute and drum.
Is not most talking
A crazed defense of a crumbling fort?
I thought we came here
To surrender in Silence,
To yield to Light and Happiness,
To Dance within
In celebration of Love’s Victory!
~ Hafiz 'I Heard God Laughing.'
May you dear reader find the solace and wisdom of Silence. If a writer, may the flood gates of writer's block explode as you allow all your highest aspirations and words to funnel down onto a world ripe with hopeful change. Most importantly, listen to yourself, above all else, and write on. — Molly Jo