empty spaces equal strong minds


Church on a field, Glendalough, IrelandI read something interesting the other day.

“Do you want to know what makes music?” The answer is, the space between the notes. If it weren’t for those quiet spaces, all we would hear is constant noise.

Where is that space in our lives? Where are those quiet, contemplative moments in our life? If our lives minds are constantly “chattering”, how does wisdom find a home?

Plato and many other philosophers have all subscribed to the notion that declares “an unexamined life is not worth living”. I agree one hundred percent but in this day of constant stimulation, it’s hard to quiet our minds to examine anything. I think that perhaps this is the greatest challenge we face in this century.  It’s not just a problem for teenagers who are constantly “plugged in” to something. It’s a problem most of us have. I know I do.

It’s rare that I sit and read a book. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m always reading but it’s rare that it’s quiet when I’m doing so. Either the TV, the radio, my I-phone, my Nook or my computer are nearby and fired up. I worry that I’m losing the ability to enjoy the quiet.

Exercise quietness for a strong mind.

For today, try to find even as little as five minutes of quietness to allow yourself time to think. Contemplative thinking (quiet time to be alone with our thoughts) is most definitely getting to be a lost art.

More about this subject in the next post.

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thankfulness/Q


Noise?

Noise? (Photo credit: AGrinberg)

Quality, qualify, quake, quarrel, quilt, quiet, quirky.

Today I am thankful for quiet. (Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean lack of noise. We can be quiet within even when it’s noisy around us. But for this post, I’m referring to quiet as the lack of noise.) I’m not one of those people who need someone around all the time. I don’t mind being alone especially when I can have quiet time. I find I listen and think better when it’s quiet.

Religious leaders from all faiths have extolled the importance of quiet for meditation. In Christian vernacular, quiet times refer to the times we set aside to read our Bibles and pray.  Although I still read and study my Bible, there seem to be more and more times I remain quiet and just listen. Every once in awhile I like some extended time of total quiet. When even my own voice is not allowed to break the silence.

There has been considerable research about noise and stress and the conclusion has been that noise is a huge stress factor in the world. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Life was simply quieter a hundred years ago because life was, well, simple. Of course we can turn off the noise if we choose. We just seldom choose. But complete quiet is hard to get used to. Most of us are uncomfortable with quiet. There are reasons for uneasiness.

When we are quiet, the chatter in our head subsides to a whisper. That’s when our demons can come to haunt us. We are faced with our fears and insecurities. That doesn’t scare me like it used to. I’m learning to be comfortable with the “quieter” version of me.

Most of us are going to go through a period of quietness before we leave this earth.  Due to the infirmities that accompany old age, we will have no choice.  Being comfortable with “quiet” and being unafraid to face ourselves will prepare us. I hope this doesn’t sound maudlin but the truth is unless our lives are “interrupted”, we are going to experience old age. If we want to be a serene, contented elderly person, we need to be a serene contented 20, 30, 40, etc year old person. 

The future always begins with the present.