Recently I’ve become less than impressed by noise. I’m not talking about the sound of sirens that blare outside of my window during the wee hours of the night. The background hustle of urban living tends to fade into a distant hum once you’re used to it. I’m talking about chatter, or more, the incessant need for human beings to fill a space with their voices.
This isn’t just in my walking life either. Even online I’ve pared down from being a member of several forums and groups to barely going to one forum (Studio Arcanis formerly Evocation Magic) and whittling down my Facebook friends list to just people I actually communicate with on a fairly regular basis. I guess since my divorce I’ve realized just how superfulous so much commentary actually is
I like quiet. I like it to the point that I took an extremely early shift at work just because it gives me three hours of blissful silence in which I can actually be present.
Amma, my mentor, would say this state is a combination of a few things; taking myself off of a medication that was doing my body so much harm that any benefits weren’t worth the cost, backing away from spaces that seemed to worship trigger-warning-happy victimhood over self-reliance or plain common sense, and taking steps to achieve a goal I’ve long held but thought unobtainble. In other words, as I’ve made the decision to take control over that which I CAN control, I have little interest in listening to a steady drone of largely stagnant voices constantly voicing the same complaints and reading from the same scripts they have been for years. In silence goals are set, discipline is formed, and “talking just to hear yourself” becomes a nuisance.
Taken from The Springs of Contemplation; A Retreat At the Abbey of Gethsemani by Thomas Merton;
We have to realize that sometimes human beings deliberately create noise. People with frustrated wills come together to make noise that cause others to suffer while they themselves do not suffer. This is one way for a frustrated person to “get even.” We have to resist this.
Since moving away from the noisescape even my dreams have become different. They’re less fragmented, easier to remember, and longer in duration. The faces and stories seem to manifest on a grander scale; spanning countries and dimensions moreso than before when they seemed to be Youtube-esque preview clips; strung together only by the thin link of having occured in my own head.
As the outer world has been muffled by discernment my inner world has begun to blossom.
And I like that.
This isn’t to say I’ve withdrawn from everything completely. Even after paring down of my Facebook activity there remain close to 200 people who add their insights, opinions, and passions to the tapestry I weave out of my everyday existence. I still have my favorite blogs; Rune Soup, The House of Vines, Beloved in Light, and The Secret Sun just to name a few. My inbox swells with offerings from The Renaissance Mathematicus and Disrupt and Repair.
The difference lays not in the quantity but the quality of the offerings; these other individuals drinking from their own wellsprings of contemplation often far longer than I’ve even entertained having some form of a spiritual life. Their offered cups have only inspired me to take a step back and really examine what they’re listening to and why.
2015 will likely be no different from this year. I have no resolutions, no parties or gatherings I intend to attend. I’ll likely spend the New Year hunkered down with a good book and glass of rum and rootbeer.
I raise my glass to you and hope you find your bit of silence in the year to come.