Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mute by Choice

Since becoming unemployed, I have had fewer opportunities to talk to others than I used to, which is not necessarily a bad thing. At least, according to Anne LeClaire, the author of "Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence." This woman has spent 2 days a month for 17 years being silent for the entire day and shared her experiences with a curious audience at Fountain Bookstore tonight.

And as she explained, there are different levels of silence. There's no talking, of course, but there's also no TV, computer or music in the background. Apparently some people can have the radio on and believe they are "in silence." Not so much, says LeClaire.

The rewards of silence include an inner peace, an ability to delve within oneself and an ability to focus absolutely. In her own experience, silence allowed her to finally address some long-ignored issues within herself that she'd been avoiding for years. She found the silence opened her up enough to finally allow herself enough space to examine them.

I've been referred to as "a good talker" and "an excellent conversationalist" so not talking would take a fair amount of restraint on my part. On the other hand, I seem to have adjusted just fine to far less conversation now that I am no longer in an office. Who knows, perhaps the benefits of less talking and noise have helped me keep my equilibrium during these jobless months.

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