Rediscovering Silence- March 25, 2021

As social distancing for safety during the pandemic has reduced the number of people we can be with, the things we can do and places we can go, I now realize that I had been working so hard to fill my time that I left out times to be silent and let my thoughts rest for a while.

Posted
March 26, 2021
Graphic of a light bulb

Rediscovering Silence- March 25, 2021

As social distancing for safety during the pandemic has reduced the number of people we can be with, the things we can do and places we can go, I now realize that I had been working so hard to fill my time that I left out times to be silent and let my thoughts rest for a while.

Posted
March 26, 2021

"Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom." -Francis Bacon

JFS Friends – 

I realized something the other day that caught me a little by surprise. I was in the car driving somewhere and the radio was off and at one point I realized how much I was enjoying the quiet. As social distancing for safety during the pandemic has reduced the number of people we can be with, the things we can do and places we can go,  I now realize that I had been working so hard to fill my time that I left out times to be silent and let my thoughts rest for a while. As I was reflecting on this and thinking about sharing my thoughts with you I remembered that I had written about something similar almost a year ago. I guess that this just reinforces the fact that we need to keep learning throughout life and that sometimes we need to learn the important lessons in life more than once.

Author Khaled Hosseini, in his book The Kite Runner writes:

“Quiet is peace. Tranquility.

Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life.

Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.”

Our culture puts so much emphasis on the importance of “doing” that we sometimes forget the value of letting our thoughts go where they please, of imagining, dreaming and resting. The other challenge to finding quiet moments is the amount of noise pollution that litters our life. So many everyday objects are now “smart” and “connected” that the number of notifications we get in texts, emails, calls, beeps, pings and buzzes have multiplied at an extraordinary rate. To find quiet times now requires active effort to quiet all of the interruptions that have become part of almost every moment.

I love this quote from British poet Edith Sitwell who said:

“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”

She describes silence as a “hobby” which I think is brilliant because it elevates the importance of quietness and stillness – it reframes it so that we understand that silence is not “doing nothing” – it is actively engaging in a meaningful activity. It is an important time when we can take a break from listening to the needs of others and allow ourselves to listen for – and hear – what we need for ourselves.

Physician, philosopher and poet Debasish Mridha observes that there are times:

“I may be alone, but I am never lonely.

I am always with my best friend, and that is me.”

There is a Yiddish Proverb that says:

“Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom.”

This proverb reminds us that even though it comes naturally to talk and fill the empty spaces with more talk and more sound, we can learn and acquire the skill to know when we need quiet and when it is better to listen rather than to talk.

I hope that as you plan your days you will consider being intentional about scheduling some time with yourself – to sit quietly and reflect – and perhaps you will discover - like Debasish Mridha - that you are enjoying that time with your best friend.

Take care and be safe,
Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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