Silence is on the verge of extinction

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

This morning, I listened.

Just 15 minutes. A podcast I had been meaning to listen to. I put the time aside … and listened. By listening, truly listening, I heard things. Things that struck a chord.

I’m not always a good listener. I have so many words fighting to get out. I’m enthusiastic, passionate, interested; I hook onto other people’s enthusiasm, passion and ideas. That sparks thoughts … and words, which tumble out when I should be listening.

So I listened to a podcast by Emergence Magazine about silence.

I listened properly … and this is what I heard:

Silence is the presence of time … undisturbed

The podcast talks about silence being on the verge of extinction. The overwhelming weight of background chatter is a constant distraction. Rare are the moments when the cacophony of modern world sounds fade. Our attention spans are crippled … making 15 minutes for listening becomes a struggle; background noises attract our attention and distract us from our intention to learn. Maybe we don’t trust silence. Perhaps, we no longer know what it is. Could it be that the sounds of nature no longer open the curtains to our consciousness?

Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton explains in the podcast that he became a better listener by holding a microphone. He learned that “a microphone doesn’t listen for what is important”. He learned to take things in with equal value. Listening properly. To the sounds … of silence. Because, as he says:

Silence isn’t the absence of something (but it is) the presence of everything

I tell myself I am not a good listener. I must do better. But yesterday I spent an hour mentoring a friend who was kind enough to share her thoughts afterwards. The session seemed to help … the true value emerged when I listened and not when I spoke:

… this wonderful space in which you can set free your thoughts and pondering, a space that feels completely safe and unbound. You can see him silently processing your words, taking little notes as you speak but always listening intently. Every thought and idea shared is considered, sometimes challenged but all of them encouraged.

Maybe, just maybe, I am learning to listen. Truly listen.

Trusting the silence

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A life well-lived; celebrating people, places and purpose; an encouragement to stay curious, optimistic and adventurous. Newsletter, every Sunday, 6pm sharp.

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feastsandfables

feastsandfables

A life well-lived; celebrating people, places and purpose; an encouragement to stay curious, optimistic and adventurous. Newsletter, every Sunday, 6pm sharp.

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