Are we ready to say goodbye to silence? You would think not, but think again. Just as we forego focus and mindfulness for the sake of multi-tasking, so have we traded silence for the constant stimulation of noise. As cancer survivors ready to get back to the “essence of life,” shouldn’t we be willing to keep silence alive?
Think about all the information that bombards us every day from every possible direction. One of my pet peeves is the number of screens we are now subjected to in our everyday life. It seems that, unless you are in a fine dining, white tablecloth establishment, most restaurants now surround you with television screens. Retail stores, which used to play background music, now run music videos or ads on televisions bolted to the walls. My local Wal-Mart hangs televisions from the ceiling. The first of many pelts you from overhead as you walk in the door. The ubiquity of television – is this what George Orwell was warning us about in Nineteen Eighty-Four?
And what about the laptops, tablets, iPods, smartphones and the like, that we carry around with us? The constant pinging and ringing should drive us all crazy. Instead, we can’t get enough and go looking for more information in response to phantom cell phone vibrations. Maybe this is a form of insanity.
Every once in a while, I find myself in my kitchen trying to listen as various family members talk to me – at the same time. As I begin to feel the stress of needing to listen, but being overwhelmed by too much information coming in too fast, I become aware of another voice. With the push of one button, the background drone of the television goes dead and I breathe in, relieved. I don’t have total silence, but I have silenced unnecessary ambient noise.
Mindfulness and meditation cannot exist without silence. We can prevent the extinction of silence by being more aware of the noise pollution all around us. If we control what we can, with that little flick of a finger, we can give our mind a much needed break. Once we let ourselves experience silence, we will realize how necessary it is to a healthy life beyond cancer.
We all live hectic, noisy lives. Do what you can today to find moments of silence. Turn off your cell phone, television or laptop. Give yourself a brief moment of inner silence and see where it takes you. As Deepak Chopra said, “Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.” I’d love to know how you bring silence into your busy life and what it gives you in return.
Survival > Existence,
Image courtesy of bixentro