Despite being an introvert, I hated silence. My crippling fear for the longest time was loneliness. Silence always seemed to amplify the loneliness. I always busied myself to avoid silent boredom at all costs, even if I had to spend time with toxic people. After my self-transformation, I’ve discovered how powerful and necessary silence is.
When I’m no longer lonely when I’m alone, silence is comfortable. It is freedom. But it also blends into the background. I just find it as normal situation, nothing particular special.
I first glimpsed the necessary of silence on my first personal retreat. It was just a weekend away from the drama of my living situation. In the silence, alone in the cabin, I was able to process my emotions, found my truths and recognized the clarity of what I truly wished for. I found that silence might be a missing condition for a solution to emerge for relationship problem.
Then, I learned about silence was an essential piece during my first retreat at Tergar International to learn from Youngey Mingyur Rinpoche. Aside from turning off all technology, all participants were asked to be silent except during lectures. We pinned our hand written notes on community board to communicate with each other. Even if we saw someone crying, we respected their space and not utter a word. We didn’t go on retreat to network or make friend, it was to go within. In that way, although it might be jarring and uncomfortable at first, silence is powerful for the journey within.
I’m a strong advocate for honest and clear communication. However, to facilitate such balanced emotional state for clear communication, a lot of silence are needed beforehand. Hearing others’ experiences during COVID-19 quarantine, I understand how important silence is. Ask any parent with a toddler, how much they’d wish for a quiet break, even just 5 minutes. For some that used to surround themselves with works and other people, silence is deafening.
But in the void of noise, the chaos of our minds get louder. It is in that chaos that we find peace. Instead of doing, we can lean more into being. In the silent house, looking up at the ceiling, what do I see? Do I see the ceiling or do I see my mind?
In the silence, I can be honest with myself, I can see all the nuances of my contradicting emotions. I can even recognize some unspoken wishes from others. From this recognition and clarity, I find peace. I discover another facet of myself that perhaps I have forgotten.
Without the silence, how do you hear your soul? In the silence, the mud of your mind can settle down, you can then align your heart and soul because the truth will emerge.