Some people swim with sharks; some climb vertical mountainsides barefoot. I’m gathering my courage to face something I frankly find nearly as terrifying as a Great White, and as hard to get a toehold on as a granite cliff face.
I’m going to be silent, for an entire week. In a strange place, full of silent strangers, I will not say a word, nor will anyone speak to me.
I’ve written here before about how I’d lost my ability to meditate, a practice that had vastly improved my mental and spiritual health, through disuse. I am determined to get it back, and this week of silence at a meditation center is my last, best hope. This practice is called Noble Silence; the material the Center provided describes it as a “rare period of quiet, giving your senses a rest so that you can spend precious time in communication with your own mind….In actual practice, Noble Silence is multi-faceted, and not simply about being quiet. Among other things, it involves bringing an intention of silence to all your experiences, and consciously eliminating distractions so that you can better focus on the present moment and attend to whatever is arising.”
Full disclosure; I am without a doubt ADHD. It actually works pretty well for me as a serial entrepreneur and parent; mentally, I can be multiple places at once, juggling conversations, obligations, and challenges all day, every day. And that’s great, until it’s time to be silent – silent without, silent within, the kind of deep, fathomless silence your mind requires for meditation.
I honestly don’t know if I can do this.
The instructions get even more unnerving: We’re discouraged from making eye contact with each other, and advised to look at each other’s feet, for instance, should the urge to speak rise up in us. We’re warned that some participants may spontaneously burst into tears – and we’re not to speak to or touch them. No reading. No writing. No noisy clothing. No distractions. Just me and….me.
What will I encounter, in this dive into my own consciousness? Will I slip up and say “Thank you” to someone? Will I be talking to trees by the end of it? Will I get the giggles – or burst into tears? I honestly don’t know. But I welcome the opportunity to get reacquainted with someone I’ve been ignoring for a while; myself.
I’ll let you know how it goes.