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Be in Silence for 10 Minutes


A quote by Stephen Batchelor. "Herein lies the paradox of solitude. Long long and hard enough at yourself in isolation and suddenly you will see the rest of humanity staring back.

I was going to write about a Silence Challenge or a Solitude Challenge and the moment those words arose it was obvious they were inappropriate. Challenges are for striving, and, well, mindfulness isn't.


An Invitation to Be in Silence for 10 Minutes

Invitation is my kind of word.


I'm not challenging you or making you feel less-than. I don't need you to "improve" your "self." I'm just here inviting you to experience something that might be beneficial to you in many ways. Some of them I don't even know because I'm not you.


Here's the invitation, and I initially wanted to suggest an hour. But realistically, few people have crafted the life and environment I have and would find that hilariously out of touch.


Plan for a time that's the easiest given your schedule. Maybe you can do it in the morning. The idea is to not do anything and just be. No anchor point or special breathing. Simply sit in silence with your eyes open, for 10 minutes (set an alarm). This means:

  • no reading

  • no writing

  • no music

  • no movement (as in, exercising in silence doesn't count for this)

  • no eating

  • no social media or email

  • no talking

On silent retreats, we do this for days, along with formal sitting, walking, and eating. Everything is done in silence and no one looks at you (it's called "custody of the eyes").


Notice the sounds of your life and body, notice thoughts, notice sensations and emotions. Don't judge or assess anything. Try to let everything come and go.


Finally, notice when you start to talk to yourself, having a running monologue or even dialogue in your head. Isn't it funny that we do that?


The Takeaway

The takeaway is this isn't easy for anyone because we've been trained on constant stimulus, and social media has corrupted our ability to simply be. It's an equalizer, though, as when you do it you'll get a taste for what others with human brains and bodies experience in 2023 in the developed world.


Anything that brings us together helps. And spending time in solitude helps you see your own humanity more clearly and is a window into others.


Let me know how it goes!


May ease find you.

mm

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