The opportunity of silence

Silence is a chance to let the busy-ness drop.  Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Silence does not truly exist.  Whatever we think is silence, is a stilling of the waves, an ebbing of a flow.  When we sit in silence, we can be calmer, more peaceful… or we can be more agitated, depending on the prevailing state in our mind.  What counts, is how we feel when the busy-ness of life goes away, and we are left with ourselves.


Many of us are part of social schemas that reward so-called hard work, or at least punish inattention to work.  We define work, often, as that which brings us monetary income.  The deal is that we work, we earn money, money is paid, and we pay our bills, ensuring continuity of resource for ourselves and our loved ones.

This cycle traps us.  Economies tend to be organised on a ‘just enough’ principle, whereby the average person can just about keep their head above water, but has to keep working to continue the cycle.

Mental health, though, suffers.  The above economic cycle feeds off a consistently and repeatedly generated anxiety, in which millions of individuals go to work, have just enough, pay their bills, go back to work, etc.


When we are in silence (when the world stops for a short while), we are given a short opportunity to escape that cycle of busy-ness.

Most of us reach for the nearest activity we can find, because we are (without knowing it) uncomfortable with the silence.  We are so used to activity, that we do not know how we will cope just sitting.  So we buy food, eat food, phone friends, check websites.

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The next time you find yourself with a spare moment, stop.

Feel your old habits pushing you to phone someone, or speculate on something, or eat something.  Let those feelings come and go.  Stay sitting.

Feel your fears bossing you around.  Feel them telling you to go back to work, to achieve something, to travel somewhere, to clean something, to sort something out.

Let those fears come and go.  Do not react to them.

See if, over the space of five minutes or so, you can let the busy-ness drop.  See if you can live with a bit of silence.

Remember, silence does not truly exist.  But what we think of as silence, an ebbing of the flow of busy-ness, is a chance to escape the rat race, the cycle of busy-ness, and to listen.  Five minutes of peace is better than none at all.