A chance reading of a post on Facebook got me thinking about silence, coming on the heels of a book I am reading about the convent life in medieval Italy. Sacred Hearts talks about the struggles of a novice nun, who enters the convent against her will and fights to not get drawn to Christ, but it is the forced silence that fuels her introspection and allows her to come to terms with her inner demons.
Can silence really heal, can silence fix problems, can silence soothe the broken heart and spirit and indeed can silence be the answer to so many ills?
Confusing- probably, irrational- maybe, difficult-most certainly!
For someone who loves to talk, who thrives in company and likes to share, the mere thought of not being able to talk thru things is anxiety inducing!
But over the last few days and weeks, as I have worked my way through a number of contentious issues. Trouble shot for others, been the mediator, been the support network and been the point person- I really feel I have spoken enough to last a while!
And this made me think- why do we discuss problems and issues that we encounter with other people? Is it just to share, to inform or is it because we are seeking their counsel or is it because we want them to fix the problem for us?
Sometimes it is none of the above- it is because we just want to talk about it. And each time we do, it gets a different tone, a different slant- we discover new things that hurt us, we assign meanings to conversations and each person we share with brings their perspective and their lens to the issue.
And very soon a manageable situation spins out of control!
Or the other hand, if we chose to be silent about some of our problems, what would happen?
Maybe we’d reflect a bit more, work it in our heads a bit more. Maybe we wont say things first and think later? Maybe we’d find a way to resolve the problem or maybe it would die out of our conscious mind because it is not getting stoked and fed?
In an age where we are constantly told to tell all, share our most personal feelings in 140 characters and unload our feelings over a coffee to our besties, this does seem extreme!
But just as a test, when I tried silence as tool of communication, the prospects seem endless- it de-clutters the mind, it helps focus and most importantly silence gives an issue time to shrink in size…..
And when you reflect on the fact that some of our greatest thinkers spent years in silence, many creative people were fiercely private and the calmest people are usually the ones who cope with what life throws at them…..maybe silence is after all GOLDEN!