“When I think of fearlessness I actually think that what we need to learn is how to be afraid, how to sit and accommodate that feeling and not run from it and also not be driven by it, because when we’re driven by it we will do anything to avoid it. We will do things that are quite self destructive or destructive to others, we will surrender good judgment; and if we could learn to sit quietly with our fear, surround it with awareness and love, then I think we will discover a whole new meaning of fearlessness.” ~ Sharon Salzberg
Tackling the challenge of getting intimate with our own minds is one of the most courageous things any of us can do.
It is within our minds that we find the most meanness, fear, cruelty, stress and sense of loss.
No wonder we are all so good at keeping busy!
However, this is why making friends with quiet can be our greatest ally.
Making friends with quiet costs nothing, requires no props, classes or teachers and can be done anywhere, anytime. All we have to do is stop. We don’t even need it to be quiet around us. The quiet isn’t outside of us, the quiet we are seeking in this case is inside of us.
Recently, on a wilderness camping trip I worked with this concept of tuning into the quiet.
At night, lying in my sleeping bag, surrounded by my family with only a nylon tent separating us from the elements, I would use the tool mindfulness by giving all of my attention to what I was hearing.
The experience was literally as if I had changed the channel on a TV set.
One moment everything was really loud. All the thoughts and worries in my mind pounding and screaming. Then I would turn all of my attention to my sense of hearing, instead of what was in my mind and everything went silent in my mind. The only things I could hear were the sound of birds and water, and the snoring of my loved ones.
Nothing had changed in my external world, but my sense of the moment altered completely simply by shifting where I put my attention.
The silence within us is always there.
And it can feel scary.
It can feel like we are alone and lost and inadequate for the simple reason that we aren’t “doing” anything.
But there is a richness in the quiet that is beyond anything the mind can come up with. It is deep and it is old and it is wise.
Because the quiet has been around forever.
It takes a certain type of training to become comfortable with our own inner sense of quiet. It is something most of us have to cultivate.
This is a gift each of us can give ourselves.
Our mind is great at coming up with all the reasons nothing is ever going to work out for us. Listening to these stories all day long leaves most of us exhausted and overwhelmed.
In the silence we see that we just are, and that is enough, and the nothing of the moment is all we need.
This isn’t a mental experience—this is a visceral experience for the senses.
So why not give yourself a true healing experience that costs nothing financially and gives you everything you need in this moment?
Some simple time in the silence of your own being.
Just five minutes is refreshing, and 10 minutes brings us back to ourselves.
A whole day is self-care, and a week or more can be life-changing.
The silence is always here, we just need to remember to tune into it.
Author: Ruth Lera
Image: Lucy Maude Ellis/Flickr
Editor: Renée Picard