Shhh….

by Lance Ekum on · 22 comments

Shh....
Creative Commons License photo credit: copyrider

"The best cure for the body is a quiet mind" — Napoleon Bonaparte

Silence – how often do we really have it? The sounds of cars passing by, or television, or MP3 players, or phone calls, or computers, or a dog, or a lawn mower, or whatever else we have in our life that makes sound. Rarely do we have the opportunity for true quiet moments.

With all the "noise" in our lives, we can become numb to what our bodies and minds are trying to tell us. We can’t hear what they are saying. So what are the effects of this? The effects are that we don’t really come to know and understand ourselves. We continue to go through life without actively, and truely, deciding the direction we want to go.

I had an experience to attend a retreat a couple of years ago. One of the most moving moments for me was during the first evening at the retreat, where we were to spend the evening in silence from evening through the next morning. What a great lesson in the power of silence. During this time, I was able to reflect upon my life, and really think about what mattered to me. As we discussed the weekend after it was over, this moment was the most powerful for me. This was powerful, because it had happened so rarely for me before this. And I was able to begin really knowing who I was.

But how often do we do this in our regular lives? We can caught up in our everday tasks, and pretty soon the day has turned into night, or Sunday into Saturday, or January into December. And we continue on, doing what we’ve always done, letting our lives be determined by others.

Find time to have quiet moments in your life. These are reflective times where you get to know yourself better. And in doing this, you will lead a more fulfilled life.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara July 1, 2008 at 8:02 am

Amen! I can’t remember the last time I had a moment of both quiet and electronic disconnect. I think this is why bubble baths were invented…

I’m being a bit facetious, but you’ve got a great point. The outside noise (even the enjoyable kind) does have a way of drowning out our internal thoughts, to our detriment.

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Amanda Linehan July 1, 2008 at 8:56 am

Great post Lance! Silence is really powerful. It’s amazing what you can finally “hear” when there is no noise.

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Marelisa July 1, 2008 at 10:13 am

@Lance: Maybe we should all set up some sort of practice where once a month we spend a day alone in a cabin in the woods with no TV, telephone, or radio.

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Marelisa July 1, 2008 at 10:49 am

Lance, I was by here before and left a comment, but I just saw over at Barbara’s blog that you’re the New Blog of the Week! Congratulations!

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Mark Salinas July 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Wow! I don’t know if I am silent when asleep? I might have to try to figure that one out.

“Speech is great; but silence is greater.”
-Thomas Carlyle

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Dr.Cason July 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Great post!

I’m so tempted to fill up my world with noise or words. I resist the quietness that I am capable of. My favorite part of driving here on this pretty island is rolling the windows down and feeling the wind whip through my hair. When I feel really stressed sometimes I shut the music off and all you hear is the breeze.

It’s nice.

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rebecca July 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm

coming from a very large, noisy family, i craved silence all of my life. when i married and moved out, i finally got the opportunity to live the way i wanted to. luckily, i married a man who was not noise-dependent. we’ve never had a tv in the bedroom, it is the time for us to mentally wind down. we read and relax, listening only to the sounds of nature outside of our window. it is absolutely the very best part of the day for me and i could not live without it. it is thru the silence that i come alive once again and it is thru the silence where i learn of myself.

good post…very good post. i do so love coming here…it stills me.

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Bamboo Forest July 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

I agree that silence can really contribute to ones life. It’s almost as if there is two kinds of thinking. The kind of thinking we do when we interact with people and friends. And the kind we can only do when we’re in silence by ourselves. Btw, congratulations on being selected for NBOW!

Cheers,

– Bamboo Forest

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Lanceman July 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm

@Sara – right on, in fact as I wrote this post, I had music on in the background. So much for silence…

@Amanda – yes, we need to turn off the noise to hear ourselves – it’s easy to be distracted with everything going on around you.

@Marelisa – Thank you! And, the cabin sounds just right – someplace to get away from our daily activities.

@Mark – My wife would probably agree that I’m not always silent either when I sleep! Great quote, too.

@Dr Cason – I think when there is so much “noise” that is so convenient, it becomes too easy to turn it on instead of turn it off. I rarely have the radio off in the car, but yet when I bike to work one of the great benefits is the peacefulness of the ride (i.e. quiet). Again, it’s convenient to turn on the radio in the car, so I do. I guess the key is to actively seek out some silence in our lives.

@Rebecca – I’ve always been against having a tv in our bedroom (we don’t), and that ends up being a time and place where we (my wife and I) can connect better on the day past without any distractions (kids, tv, phone calls, etc). Thanks for you kind comments.

@Bamboo Forest – Thanks! I’d agree that we have our normal interactive mode, and our reflective mode. The key is to find a balance between the two.

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chris July 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm

I’m comming from Blogging Without A Blog and I’m glad that you’re the NBOW. I like the brevity of your succinctness of your post.

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Lanceman July 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm

@Chris – Thanks – I attempt to keep my posts from not running on and on…we’ll see if I can keep that up!

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Linda Abbit July 1, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Hi Lance,

I come from BWAB and want to congratulate you on being NBOTW! Skimmed your blog — love the photos and the quotes! I incorporate quotes in my blog as well, but not in quite the same way.

This post really “spoke” to me – LOL. I’ve recently listened to podcasts of Oprah interviewing Eckhart Tolle and he also emphasizes the power of silence in our lives. Thanks for reinforcing it once again. I’ve been practicing yoga for 3 years and I think that’s where the importance of silence and listening to my inner being first started.

Looking forward to reading more of your posts — old & new.

Nice to “meet” you! Keep up the great work!

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Davina July 2, 2008 at 1:08 am

Hi Lance.

Congrats on NBOW. I enjoyed this post and I LOVE silence. I remember in Grade 3, (funny how some things stand out in your memory) that the teacher was frustrated with our noisy class. She decided to have a contest and the quietest student would win a prize. Guess who won?

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Barbara Swafford July 2, 2008 at 2:48 am

Hi Lance,

My day is near it’s end, and I’m enjoying hearing only the tap of my fingers on the keyboard.

I love to work in silence. Often the employees will ask why I don’t have music playing. To me it’s a distraction, and can even become irritating.

Many years ago when I lived my myself, I learned to enjoy my own company. It was one of the greatest lessons I ever learned. Silence IS golden!

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Lanceman July 2, 2008 at 5:08 am

@Linda – Thanks much! And nice to meet you too. Yoga sounds like a great way to find some time for silence.

@Davina – Thank you! And congratulations – sounds like you’ve been pretty good at this for quite a while!

@Barbara – Well said, it is a great lesson to be able to accept silence. And thanks again for the NBOTW honor this week!

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peter vajda July 2, 2008 at 7:55 am

With noise such an addiction for many, an important question to inquire into is why I can’t be alone in silence, why silence is deafening and why I feel uncomfortable in my own skin when in silence (maybe three questions). I think that’s the key to a deeper sel-awaress that will support one to get to the bottom of one’s fear of silence.

My coaching clients take FSBs (frequent short breaks) for one minute every hour where they close their door, or go outside, or stand in a stairwell, or put on their headphones (without music or “noise”), breathe deeply into their belly and focus on their arms and legs (to take them out of their head). They find the stillness nourishing and nuturing…and can maintain a consistent connection to their deeper self, and learn to live with silence, and view silence as a friend not an enemy.

Addictions are hard to break and this process allows one to chip away at their addiction for “noise” in baby steps…

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Lanceman July 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm

@Peter – Great points (and questions). Maybe we do fear silence – we are just used to so much noise.

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Sandy July 16, 2008 at 7:35 am

Lance;
Your blog pages are fabulous, each one a wealth of amazing insight into life.
This post on ‘quiet time’ or downtime as I call it is especially close to my heart.
Through the years I’ve found this to be most beneficial; something I relish daily to stay healthy, mental, emotionally and physically.
Thanks for this wonderful post and I’m looking forward to many more.
Always, Sandy
http://www.greenecocommunities.com/blog
http://www.artistrybysandy.stumbleupon.com

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Lanceman July 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

Sandy, thanks so much! I agree, this sure can be beneficial. Sometimes I find it hard to find the time for “quiet time”, but when I do it’s always good.

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Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl May 17, 2009 at 7:26 am

Lance,

This is wonderful! I have been really looking at this myself a lot lately. I just did a radio show a few weeks ago with a man who intentionally spent a YEAR in solitude by himself to gather some of that silence. Very powerful stuff! His name is Bob Kull and the book is called Solitude.

Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl´s last blog post..The House on the Rock

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