Thursday, October 21, 2010

Silence

My mom once told me she almost never listens to the radio when she's driving by herself. I was surprised by that because previously, I always had some noise on. It had never occurred to me to just drive in silence. Since then, I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and Deepak Chopra talks about having some silence in every day. I take time to meditate in the morning, but what about silence during random moments throughout the day? What an interesting idea. I started turning my radio off in the car sometimes, and just driving. It really takes some getting used to, and some days I really cannot stand the crazy lady jabbering in my head, so the music helps me be centered. Other days, after a few minutes of discomfort, I start to feel more peaceful.
Now I'm noticing how hard it is to find silence during a normal day. I fill up my car at the gas station, and there is a TV on the pump. The TV is not telling me anything important, it is really mindless idiocy. Do the people at Shell think we can't be alone with our own thoughts for the 4 minutes it takes to fill the pump? Or that they'll really sell more sodas and candy bars by advertising them in this way? My husband told me there are now TVs on the elevator at his work. He works in a high rise in the city, so I'm sure some of those rides can be long. But again, God forbid we wait in silence, or, worse yet, talk to someone else riding with us!
Sometimes I wonder if our culture of constant sensory bombardment is contributing to increasing rates of ADHD. No one does just one thing anymore, and almost nothing is done in silence. We are a nation of distraction. No wonder practices like mindfulness, meditation and yoga are enjoying such popularity. I believe they are the antidote to the gas pump TVs of our lives. Quiet time on my cushion in the morning makes me better prepared to meet the day. Quiet time on my mat (when I practice at home, I don't turn music on anymore) calms my stress response and slows down the rest of my thoughts. Eating mindfully ensures I not only enjoy my food, but eat the right amount and improve digestion. These are small moments in an otherwise noisy life, filled with normal distractions. I don't think we have to take a vow of silence to see benefits, but maybe a few moments of quiet can bring us all to a more centered place.

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