Recently on the opinion page of the New York Times was an article called "I'm Thinking. Please. Be Quiet." The article mentions the usual culprits including all the machines we live with making the volume of noise that inundates us when we are awake and asleep. Yes, the article describes recent studies where heart rate and blood pressure rise with passing airplanes even when we are sleeping. What struck me is if with all the noise it is difficult to think, what about our ability to feel? If we can hardly find quiet to think clearly, what is happening to our deeper being, our spirit, our joy? In all the noise bombarding us day and night is it any wonder that we are losing our awareness of our heart and soul?
The problem is not only noise but the lack of peace and quiet. If there is no peace and quiet in our daily life, how can we know peace and quiet within ourselves? Most people have adjusted to the noise of modern life, leaving them with the noise of their own mental traffic as if this is normal. I don't know how many restaurants I have been in where I have asked please turn down the music so I can hear the people I am with. The high volume we live with has separated us from our clear mind, our calm heart. The lack of peace and quiet affects all that we do, our relationships, and most important our ability to listen and know our own heart and soul. It is our potential for introspection that makes us unique as a species. It is our awareness of our heart and soul that creates the artist, poet, and dreamer in each of us.
Unplugging from all our devices and the noise of our daily world is a frequent topic on The Huffington Post and media in general. People are expressing their fear to let go of their handy gadgets. They need prodding to spend some time in silence. This hesitation is a statement to how rare peace and quiet has become in our life and how accustomed we have grown to the busyness of our world. I like to imagine a life where it was exactly the opposite. If we were living in peace and quiet and were seeking volunteers to go into a noisy world, our fears and hesitation would make sense! Resisting taking time to enjoy peace and quiet makes no sense at all. In fact, this is a scary reflection of how far we have grown from the peace of our own heart, the quiet of a calm mind.
The noise constantly bombarding us has resulted in our overcrowded, complex mental world. The absence of peace and quiet is keeping us from the many gifts of simplicity and simple being. We are instead constantly thinking of something to do. Noise is separating us from our ground of being. This ground is our awareness resting softly in the silence inside of us. It is a daily life in the quiet of our heart. When we have our ground of being, we naturally resonate and are attracted to taking the time to sit next to the ocean or look into the soft face of a friend.
I like to imagine peace and quiet ruling in our world. Anger, greed, and fear would grow and spread much less quickly. In an atmosphere of peace, these feelings have more difficulty getting off the ground. In quiet, we see more quickly the disturbance inside of us before it gets out of hand. Peace and quiet loosens the roots of anger, greed, and fear that are growing in our psyche. Peace and quiet soothes the psyche, alleviates excessive thinking, and self importance. With peace and quiet, thinking slows down and something else begins growing. There is a life of great heart in each of us that emerges when there is space, understanding, and love.
Life could include taking a daily bath in peace and quiet. If we sit and soak long enough, the peace becomes our skin. The quiet goes into our muscles, our bones. The silence within and around us stretches forever. This is a world where peace and quiet rules instead of the loudest noise calling for our attention. Bathing in peace and quiet is perfect medicine, perfect therapy for much that afflicts us.
Retreat and meditation are our opportunity to make peace and quiet normal in our life again. Awareness is too precious to have full of noise. If we take sometime for peace and quiet, maybe we will turn down the noise and make decisions and choices which offer more peace and quiet in the world. Peace and quiet are much more than words to pass by our minds. They are seeds of hope for a yearning heart, a hungry soul. Peace and quiet and another world opens up in each of us. Instead of noise clouding our mind, there is much light waiting inside our heart. I like to imagine a world of heart, inspiring, guiding, and offering shelter to every part of us that is vulnerable, reaching, and giving.
We invite you to join us in peace and quiet at Silent Stay Retreat Home & Hermitage near Napa, Calif. and Assisi, Italy
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