Quotes and Reflections: Silence

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

Blaise Pascal

Many of us will do just about anything to avoid a state of boredom. Alone in an empty room staring into the ceiling and doing nothing but examining our thoughts seems horrendous. Faced with this situation we quickly turn to our mobile phones scrolling aimlessly, browse the internet or watch television. Any distraction will suffice to avoid boredom.

We pride ourselves on outward achievement, and on constantly having something to do. Being busy has become a status symbol in our culture. It demonstrates to others that you are important and have achieved some level of success.

However, not all cultures think of this issue with the same perspective. Eastern philosophies emphasize the importance of introspection and stillness. The practice of meditation asks us to sit alone with the contents of our mind and thoroughly examine them. Are we acting on our impulses? Are we processing our emotions? Are we thinking through our actions and goals?

The answer is not retreating from society in a Buddhist monastery, but rather incorporating the practice of stillness in our day to day lives. To be frank, not everything is as urgent as we think. We don’t have to respond to many of our text messages or social media notifications immediately. Things can wait.

Modern day society constantly fills our minds with information 24/7, and it is unsustainable to think we can consume all of it. So today, spend some time with nothing but your you and your mind, in stillness.