The Power of Silence
We live in a society and culture that
is fast moving, technology-orientated,
a society that demands constant and
seemingly never-ending interaction.
And although many would think it’s
a time of great 'communication' -
mobiles, internet, there’s seemingly
no escape from it - often it’s just the
opposite! It's so easy not to take time to stop, take stock, just be, be silent.
We often feel that the right answer/solution/come back or clever remark should be there - instantly, reflecting our modern world. It's almost as if it's expected of us, but our brains are on overload much of the time - it’s too busy, too overwhelming. So learning the art of silence can not only help others to think but enable ourself to allow in thoughts that are often blocked by the constant 'buzz' of everyday life. So clear your mind – allow time to be still, let silence fall.
Our lives and our conversations often mirror each other - our conversations supporting the tennis-volley-approach of: 'You say something, and extremely quickly, I say something back.' This happens almost without pause or without us taking a breath; it's like a knee jerk reaction. It's not listening, it's just a case of getting to the next stage without real thought or consideration – thereby so often blocking the potential great outcome.
I fear we are all guilty at times of formulating what we are going to say next, even before the person speaking stops sharing their thoughts. If one has learnt the art of silence, or of considered speech and response, one knows how much more powerful the words you did not speak could have been than the words you did speak, or thought of speaking.
This is the real challenge: be comfortable with being still, be comfortable with just being, be comfortable with silence. Don't be afraid of silence. This is truly, for most people, an acquired art. But when you do learn this, you actually listen, you learn, because you realise that it's not a competition to see who can convey most information (usually falling on deaf, or at least reluctant, ears!) It therefore follows that when you get good at this, the quality of your communicating improves, it has to.
Don't be afraid of the struggle someone else may be going through during the silence in your conversations - silence can produce some of the best results in terms of development and insight ever because you are giving you’re the other person TIME to work things out in their brain, thereby allowing them to step into a new and illuminating mindset.
Make silence an artform and give yourself, and those with whom you communicate, the opportunity to move on - silence truly can be golden!
Article by Annie Watsham
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