Are We Listening?: Emphasize Being Rather than Doing
Nov 02, 2017 06:39PM
By Teresa Reyes Castillo and Anna Huff
The common complaints of today’s world are that “to-do” lists are endless, there are limited hours in a day, we are constantly going and we rarely get the breaks we need. These beg the question, what would happen if we stopped “doing”? Interestingly enough, advice received from others is often to “do something”. The concept of “doing” places importance on taking action to resolve issues but what may be more important than taking action is simply being. If we can take time to cease the noise and be, time can stop, peace can be obtained and a sense of true calm can settle. It’s time to ask ourselves if there is more to life than just the monotonous daily routines and the to-dos of modern society.
Stop for a Moment
If we take time to quiet the noise, clutter, daily tasks and responsibilities by simply being and listening, then do we need to ask ourselves who we are? Self-exploration leads us to find meaning within ourselves and guides us to find our own answers, desirable or not. Self-exploration allows us to gaze inward to our inner self, closing the gap between our external and inner selves. The external world is typically of greater focus and often connected to an identified title, such as husband, mother, friend and so on. Think of it as everything outside of us. Our external world, while helping us function in daily life, often serves as a distraction from our inner self.
Our Answers are Inside
Fear can arise at the thought of connecting with our inner self, sitting silently with ourselves. Uncertainty can give rise to fear. After all, the possibilities are endless. There is a vast internal landscape to be explored without a readily accessible road map. When we first sit in silence, it can feel awkward or even uncomfortable. Our inner negative record may start playing and bring up socially imposed concepts of guilt, shame, dissatisfaction and inadequacy. Allow those thoughts to rise then subside; there are deeper answers and thoughts further within the silence. There is a world waiting to be experienced, touched, sensed and felt, leading to a meaningful and fulfilling life. The biggest obstacle is likely whether we can allow ourselves to have this experience.
Keep in mind that there are reasons people choose not to look under the surface, brush things under the rug and hope they never come out. Fortunately or unfortunately, choosing to turn our back on our inner self and what we are supposed to be listening to does not lead to blissful ignorance. Let’s take a moment of silence for that one.
We are Speaking
The journey of self-exploration can be a treacherous yet fulfilling one; we are choosing to look under the rug, pull out skeletons from the past, and face the scars and wounds that have collected over our lifetime. Shadows can lurk beneath the surface. Scars and wounds can feel deeper than the imagination. Know that this is not to deter, yet simply not to mislead. Gaining genuine connection with the inner self is not effortless or painless. What may provide comfort is that we will only find ourselves on our journey and the shadows we run across are simply cast by us standing in the light. Those shadows are a part of us, just like the sun and the stars are. The hard work placed on our journey will be fruitful with patience and self-love. Our self-exploration can bring love, patience and understanding as gifts from us to ourselves rather than from other people.
Our Silence is Waiting
Once we have chosen we are worth our attention and have decided to connect with our inner self, let there be silence. If we strip away the external, can we feel our inner self? Do we know who we are? If we dare to look underneath the surface—under the external layer—we can connect with our inner selves. And life can begin to take on new meaning. Being silent strips away worldly responsibilities. If we let ourselves, our silence can bring an astounding sense of tranquility. We have the choice to experience more. A person who is aware of who they are and their path is more active and engaged in life. Dare to imagine a world in which all is meaningful. If we only get to live this life once, why not live it meaningfully? And, if this is what we choose, we need to stop and listen to our own silence. Our silence can transcend us into a connection to elements greater than ourselves by being true to who we are. We can experience all things as alive, including the earth, ground, trees, wind, water and more. If we can allow ourselves to be, then we can experience ourselves as a part of the ground, the earth and, ultimately, the universe as part of a transcendental experience of life.
Be lulled to sleep by a singing ocean at the beach, feel the trees whisper in a gentle forest, hear a roaring storm, taste snow in the air, hear the wrath of an angry sea, and experience the knowledge of a lively fire and a loving rock. Hug a tree and feel its glee in our embrace. At times, when we feel drained and unenergetic, we can connect with the flow of energy that is provided to us when we allow ourselves to disconnect from the machine-oiled, technology-driven external world and opt to connect within. Once we gain the courage to be different or to simply be ourselves, we can experience an endless supply of energy, a continual warm embrace, and a satisfaction and meaning that comes from the internal silence.
Listen to the silence.
Teresa Reyes Castillo, PhD, and Anna Huff, PhD, are clinical psychologists at Being Centered Psychological Services, PLLC. They specialize in working with adults in their Ridgefield office and on house calls. Connect at Being-Centered.com. See ad, page 28.