“Silence is the source of great strength.”
The words solitude and silence probably conjure up images of monks hidden away from the world. For me, I can’t help but think of an episode of the Martin Lawerence show Martin. His character decides that monastic life is the life for him. When his friends decide to rescue him they find him in a secluded monastery, bearded and looking pretty unkempt. Really hilarious episode. I think many of us can relate. The desire to get away from people and noise is understandable. We live in a loud and noisy world. The silent retreats I’ve attended have changed my life and motivated me to practice silence and solitude. But how…
Redefining Solitude and Silence
Approaching solitude and silence as a state of being rather than a place or destination is helpful. Richard Foster beautifully states, “Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place. There is a solitude of the heart that can be maintained at all times. Crowds, or the lack of them, have little to do with this inward attentiveness.”Silence is the first cousin to solitude. The two go hand in hand. Solitude paves the way for silence to have its perfect will. We have external and internal human stimuli that compete for our attention. The ultimate goal of silence is to usher us into a deeper understanding of who we are. But how…
Daily Revered Pauses
To revere is to have a deep level of respect for someone, something, etc. Developing a mindset that honors and respects our potential to heal and grow is paramount. We are worthy. Ensuring that we connect with ourselves should be deeply respected, even revered. Establishing this foundation is counter-cultural as we exist in a world that is driven by productivity, content consumption, technology, and managing a social media presence. This brings us to a crossroads and each individual will have to make the call. Starting small takes some of the edges off the decision. The positive outcomes will organically lead to wanting more solitude and silence. Wanting more of the real you. The good people at Ocean Soul Retreat have some insight to support daily revered pauses.
- First, step deep breathing and checking in with yourself
- Monitor consumption not just food (what you read, listen to, and watch)
- Reduce the noise in your life (turn down the volume)
- Practice meditation
- Practice daily gratitude
When was the last time you took an inventory of your needs? Is what you’re consuming adding value? I’ll get us started. It’s time for me to really scale back on my true crime shows. My consumption is outrageous and frankly has become a concern for my family (LOL). I think it may be creating undue noise. Human behavior tends to be driven or motivated by reward. What’s in it for me? Developing a spiritual discipline is no different.
Rewards of Solitude and Silence
It was at my first Mindfulness Retreat years ago that I personally experienced the rewards of making solitude and silence my spiritual discipline of choice. Now, I must admit that the rules sent shockwaves through my body. Leave your cell phone in the car (for an entire weekend). No radio or television (none on campus). No talking even at dinner. It literally felt good not to talk. Eliminating the level of thinking and processing required to form words and sentences was a physical relief. A weight lifted. Taking a nature walk and focusing on the mastery of nature, a tree, birds singing, or just feeling a light breeze glorious. Removing the debris left behind by noise opened the way for me to truly hear my thoughts, connect with my spirit, and recalibrate.
Dennis Buttimer, M.Ed, CEAP, RYT, CHC, a life, and wellness coach at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont believes that we experience, “blind spots.” These are the things that are and are not working in our lives. When you’re still, you’ll start to discern these habits and blind spots, says Dennis. A major contributor to frustration, anxiety, and stress is the inability to make decisions. Solitude and silence to the rescue. But how…
- Gain clarity
- Emotions are processed and not suppressed
- Better Decision making
- Mechanisms for healing are enabled
- Connect with your overall needs
It is certainly beneficial to go on retreats to reset and calibrate. However, creating a lifestyle built on the spiritual discipline of solitude and silence is the greater value-added. Get started. Start small. A world of solitude and silence awaits.