Will Rogers! Remember him? He was a popular figure in the 1920s and 30s. He was a cowboy, an actor, a humorist, and social commentator. If you’ve never heard of him, look him up, you young’uns. Will Rogers is quoted often for his acerbic sense of humor. He said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” I would vigorously nod my head in agreement!
His words should ring true for anyone looking for the chance to be silent, to go within, to let go of the ceaseless activity of the world. A lot of us are so used to “chatting up” those around us, we measure ourselves by the perceived wisdom of our own words and fill the silence with something, with anything, even if it is drivel. A lot of us think that only by thinking and then sharing those thoughts is anything at all accomplished. We are immersed in sound and noise – the radio, the television, the traffic, our iPods playing, our cell phones texting — it is no wonder we have forgotten what it means to just be. Be still. Be silent.
No thoughts, no action, no movement, total stillness:
only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things
from within and unconsciously, and at last,
become one with heaven and earth.
You may not think you want to become one with heaven and earth. It may seem that you’ve come this far without letting your self rest in silence. All of that is well and good. Then, carry on, as they say. You are free as a bird — maybe. But manyof us are tired of the incessant activity and noise. If we take only a few minutes to quiet ourselves, most of us will find refreshment and comfort in those moments. It is easy enough to do. Here are some suggestions:
- Just before falling asleep or getting into bed, try to rest your mind. Let go of the replay of the day. Maybe focus on something small you enjoyed during the day, then quiet the mind.
- Just before rising, take a minute or two to feel gratitude for a chance to sleep and rest. Think of something that will be pleasant in the coming day, then rest the mind. Stop thinking. Just observe.
- During the day, at any time, stop and clear your mind. Try thinking “No thoughts. No words. Silence.” Then, do it. Be silent.
- Find a cue that works for you. Perhaps each time you sip a beverage,stop and rest. Whenever you pick up your cell phone, take one beat to stop.
- Best of all, block a period of time to devote to being still, using a meditative practice or just feeling your breath flow in and out. Start with five minutes, then the sky is the limit.
It is the stillness that will save and transform the world.
You may think it is hyperbole to suggest that something as simple as stillness could actually transform, even save, the world. But what if it were true? What if a simple act of quieting could bring about such change? It starts with you. Forget, for now, about changing the world. Change yourself — by the simple act of silence. Why not?