In general, I avoid total silence. Part of me loves it, craves the stillness that I know comes when I give myself the space and invite the silence into me. But part of me fears it and will do anything to prevent it happening.
Or to put it another way perhaps:
When I am happy and peaceful I welcome alone time without the distraction of the radio or even of strangers around me.
But when something is troubling my spirit you may find me alone at the beach where there are always people passing by and greeting, or a book or crossword puzzle to keep my mind from wandering into the dangerous territory of facing up to whatever it is that I’m not wanting to look at. You may find me in cafes drinking coffee, people watching, or flipping through a magazine. You may find me out and about with my camera to record things of beauty or interest. But you won’t find me simply sitting; away from all distractions, alone in an isolated place, NOT reading, NOT listening to something or someone. Not even doodling in a book (another great tool for keeping me from true silence).
And that’s the time I NEED to stop. To turn my thoughts inward and let them travel those forbidden paths, to see what lies at the end of uncompleted thoughts. Sometimes, writing can be a tool that helps get those thoughts out on paper but often I allow myself to sidetrack on to easier, less messy topics, ignoring the ones that require my participation, for another day.
I’ve tried meditation and it freaks me out. I end up simply waiting for the alloted time to be finished. Instead of feeling calmness I feel a great rush of anxiety and my mind instantly becomes a cluttered hallway of shouting distraction. Yoga I love because I can focus on aligning my body, on the sensations – the stretch of a hamstring, the flow of tension from neck and shoulders – and still continue my avoidance of all things complicated or frightening.
Walking can work as it’s more rhythmic and there’s a sense of purpose, but once again I will allow myself pleasant day-dreams – nothing wrong with them in themselves – but when, when do I make time to just be?
Unrescued by food, people, books, computers, cameras, cell phone, drawing pads, cats, exercise routines, changing scenery.
And let those pent up thoughts out and let them go as far as they need to.