When was the last time you were silent without filling the void by scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or an online news site?
When was the last time you were silent without watching TV, reading a book, or listening to music or a podcast?
When was the last time you were silent and not creating anything, working, or taking care of bills or paperwork?
When was the last time you were silent -- but not sitting in meditation?
Recently I've been making an effort to take a few moments to be silent and still. I meditate often, but my time spent in silence outside of meditation usually involves writing, working, watching a movie, listening to a podcast, dancing to music, or coloring.
I love those moments, and meditation, and yet there is something extra special about sitting in silence and "just being."
In the simply silent moments we have the potential to hear our intuition, our soul, our Self.
It seems that most of us want to connect with our deepest selves, but when it comes time to actually practice doing so we reach for external means.
We gravitate towards a stack of self-help books, inspiring podcasts, insightful teachers, conversations with friends, or moving pieces of art. All of which are very helpful in their own unique ways. (I am a total bookworm and podcast junkie.)
Yet, we must be careful to notice if we are using them as means to spiritually bypass doing the deep inner work of really getting to know ourselves and connecting with the inner teacher we each possess.
I've found the the more I "try" to connect with my inner teacher the harder it is. I get the best insights, answers, and inspiration in moments of silence.
Being still and silent has never been my strong suit though. I can sit for hours reading a book or making art, but just sitting used to drive me nuts. Eventually I found that I could sit in meditation, but even that was still "doing something."
Over time I've learned that it is helpful for me to move first. I take a walk or do a quick yoga asana sequence and then I get still. Sometimes I make tea and just hold the warm cup and stare off toward the trees or clouds. Sometimes I go to the beach and sit without really focusing on anything. I just notice the waves, the shells, the people, and my thoughts.
I think that's what scares most of us about silence -- it forces us to become aware of our thoughts.
That can be really scary! There are so many thoughts happening at once.
When we become aware of the thoughts we can choose which ones to focus on and nurture and which ones to let go.
We can clear space in our awareness to hear the messages from our inner teacher that are usually drowned out by whirling mental chatter.
How do you feel about stillness and silence?
If resistance is coming up around it, look into it. What is the resistance about?
How can you make space to "just be" in silence today?
Please take the time for yourself. I'd love to hear your thoughts after you do. Please comment below or tag me in your Instagram posts.
As always, it means so much to me when you share my blogs. If you have a friend who may be interested in reading this one, please share.
An earlier version of this blog was published on my website www.katieashley.org