On Silence

There was an interesting post I read a few weeks ago.  It's a post about silence. 

Are you good at silence?   Can you stay content, not talking and no one talking to you, no music, no artificial sound, for more than a moment or two?  A lot of people find silence very uncomfortable or even downright scary.

On Tuesday morning, I was sitting (once again) on a hillside, looking for elk.  The sweet hubs was there, but we weren't talking.  Not that we "weren't talking" as in not speaking, we were both just silent.  We sat there, a few feet apart, for several hours and said very little during that time.

I admit I spent part of that silent time thinking how cold my toes were.  Mostly, I listened to the silence.  There were a few birds hanging out in the scrub oak, busily doing bird things, but other than that it was silent. 

It's amazing how much thinking you can do when you aren't distracted by the ordinary trappings of daily life.  There was no phone to answer, no chore to attend to, no refrigerator to raid.  When your thoughts turn inward, you might find that you have time to examine your life, yourself, your motives, your ambitions, your desires, your joys and your sadness.  You might become reacquainted with your strengths and your weaknesses. 

My normal life contains quite a few opportunities for silence.  On the weekends I am often alone in the house and I usually spend part of that time with the most perfect silence I can achieve--neighbor dogs notwithstanding.  But during that time I am also distracted by making battle plans for attacking my housework, deciding what to make for dinner and the myriad of other little bothers and blessings of life.

It puts me in mind of Henry David Thoreau.  "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately."  Sometimes, we need to get out of our regular environs and get reacquainted with our own hearts.  We need to put away the distractions of the day and reconnect to ourselves.   Our modern lives are so full of attention-grabbers that we seem to get caught up in the whirlwind of demands on our time, effort and focus. 

Stepping back away from television, cell phones, newspapers, Internet, people, problems, pets, stores, traffic....... (it's a long list, isn't it?) helps us embrace the silence again.  It helps us become re-centered. Henry David Thoreau decided that he couldn't live deliberately, giving his full measure of attention to each moment of the day;  he died in 1862!  How much more attention-diverting is life today?  We all need to find a little space to breathe, to think our own thoughts without distraction, and just BE.

Sitting on a frosty hillside, dressed in camouflage, might be just the way to do that.

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