Today, it is so easy to fill the quiet moments in our life with noise.
Driving home, cleaning the house, going for a walk, relaxing after work – we can play music, put on a podcast or flick on the TV. There is so much opportunity for distractions from the quiet. So much, that when the playlist finishes, when our phone goes flat or the TV show finishes, we are uncomfortable in the silence.
- Have you noticed this?
- Do you find yourself itching to turn the music on in the car, even for a five minute drive?
- Do you constantly need noise, or the presence of other people to avoid your own thoughts?
Our thoughts shouldn’t scare us that much! But if they do – and our response is to drown them out – we will never be able to properly deal with them unless we respond by stopping and listening to the silence.
Often – whether we know it consciously or not – our avoidance of this silence is because there is something we don’t want to think about. There is something we need to contemplate. There is most likely something to acknowledge in that silence that we don’t want to hear.
And no matter how hard you try, if you can’t be comfortable with silence, you will probably struggle to find peace.
Maybe you already know what the silence is trying to tell you. Maybe it’s time to mend that broken relationship, maybe it’s time to forgive that person, maybe you need to come to face the fact that you’re not happy with some of your current bad habits, maybe you need to stop neglecting your prayer life. Maybe you really don’t know what it is about that silence that makes you uncomfortable and you’re scared to uncover it. Whatever it is about the silence that you avoid – now is the time to tackle that fear.
Have you ever experienced that quiet moment of prayer where you’ve stopped putting your priorities and preferences at the top of your prayer list and just basked in the silence, and then, like a ringing bell, a thought so clear and obvious and brilliant comes through that makes you think, “Ah yes, this is how I move forward, this is what’s important”?
If you have, you’ll know exactly what I mean and yearn for that clarity and reassurance every day. If you haven’t, now is the time.
But it’s not going to happen with just one try, because we need to break down the wall of fear and start to build a healthy, familiar relationship with silence.
So, next time you are going to work, the shops, for a walk – whatever it is – remove the distraction.
Maybe your thoughts will drift towards what’s on your shopping list – move through it and refocus. Perhaps use that thought as an opportunity to be grateful for the access you have to healthy and nutritious food. Perhaps that can spur a realization you have been complaining more than expressing gratitude lately. And with that realization, you can kickstart the action to start spending those 5 minutes in the car saying – out loud – all the things you’re grateful for.
It’s that hard – and that simple.
Elise is a 4th Year Medical student from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she claims to burn water.