We live in a world that bombards us with noise almost twenty four hours a day. We listen to the radio or TV while getting ready for work, we listen to the radio on the way to work, many of us listen to the radio while at work. We are contantly on the phone. There are TV's in nearly every restaurant. The TV is on from the moment we walk in the door till we fall asleep to some late night show. We listen to an iPod while running or working out. We congregate with our friends for lunch break and coffee break. Our brains are overflowing with constant input...
We have become a society afraid to turn off the noise.
10 Questions That Have No Right to Go Away by David Whyte
As posted on Oprah.com The thought-provoking poet David Whyte considers what we should be asking ourselves—especially when we least want to confront our own answers.
June 15, 2011
The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering. Nine years ago, I wrote a poem called "Sometimes" in which I talked about the "questions that can make or unmake a life ... questions that have no right to go away."
5) Can I be quiet—even inside?
All of our great traditions, religious, contemplative and artistic, say that you must a learn how to be alone—and have a relationship with silence. It is difficult, but it can start with just the tiniest quiet moment.
Being quiet in the midst of a frenetic life is like picking up a new instrument. If you've never played the violin and you try to play it for the first time, every muscle in your body hurts. Your neck hurts, you don't know how to hold that awkward wavy thing called a bow, you can't get your knuckles round to touch the strings, you can't even find where the notes are, you are just trying to get your stance right. Then you come back to it again, and again, and suddenly you can make a single buzzy note. The time after that, you can make a clearer note. No one, not even you, wants to listen to you at first. But one day, there is a beautiful succession of notes and, yes, you have played a brief, gifted, much appreciated passage of music.
This is also true for the silence inside you; you may not want to confront it at first. But a long way down the road, when you inhabit a space fully, you no longer feel awkward and lonely. Silence turns, in effect, into its opposite, so it becomes not only a place to be alone but also a place that's an invitation to others to join you, to want to know who's there, in the quiet.