I posted on this subject in Dutch last year and it attracted a lot of readers. People so often long for peace and quiet in their lives. So I have decided to rewrite it and post it again.
At one point in my own life, I moved out to the country where I could recharge and recover from the bombardment of my senses in the city. And this also has to do with the stage of life that I am now in. When we are young, we want to go out into society, prove ourselves, raise families, achieve material success. As we grow older, we realize that this alone does not lead to happiness.
You can compare it to the seasons – after the heat and passion of summer comes the cool weather of autumn. We retreat inwards. Everything slows down and prepares itself for the quiet darkness of winter.
However, the moment we find the peace and quiet we’ve been looking for, we find ourselves afraid of the dark. Afraid of the emptiness we find there. Many people immediately escape from silence by turning on the radio or TV, socializing, escaping onto the internet, escaping through alcohol or drugs… We avoid the silence to not have to feel the emptiness.
In that silent, empty space we find our shadow. Everything we don’t want to see or know about ourselves waits for us there. That doesn’t feel like peace and quiet – that feels frightening, confronting, even stressful.
This, however, is exactly what we need. Accepting this fear, accepting our own shadow, is the key to personal growth. Once we acknowledge that it is a part of us, it loses its terrifying hold on us. On the other side of that silent empty space, Joy is waiting for us.
There are ways to learn to deal with this. Practicing mindfulness is a very good method. It teaches us to be aware of what is waiting for us in the silence and to accept it.
How do you escape the silence? And how do you learn to be with it?