Today we ask that you find quiet.
You live in a world that is increasingly noisy. It used to be that only busy cities were full of constant noise. But in the modern world, even country homes are filled with blaring televisions, and pinging smartphones. It is harder and harder to escape the fizz and buzz of human activity and noise.
And there is nothing wrong with this: the buzz of the human hive, all this interconnectedness and communication. This is an exciting and vibrant time.
However, all things must be balanced in order to maintain health.
Activity must be followed by rest. Noise must be followed by quiet.
Everything in your reality follows this rhythm: day, night; waking, sleeping. The inhale is always followed by the exhale.
Noise and stimulation must be followed by quiet and restoration. It is a simple law of your physical universe.
Violating this law leads to burnout, exhaustion, and illness.
This is true for all humans. Even someone who constitutionally thrives in noise and activity will burn out if not given periods of rest.
And this is doubly true for those who are predisposed toward thriving in a peaceful, quiet environment.
In earlier times, there were niches for quiet people: they became priests, monks, scholars, and scribes. They lived on farms, they lived in the woods. They followed the rhythms of the seasons. The nights were long, and they slept deeply.
But now everyone is expected to be lively and sociable, to network and sell themselves. To be plugged in, available, and “on” at all hours, late into the night. This is especially hard on the sensitive souls, the ones with the quiet dispositions.
If you are such a person, it is absolutely necessary that you carve out space in your life for quiet, peace, and true downtime away from the noise and the buzz.
The most practical place to start is by turning off and spending time away from one’s electronic devices: the phone, the computer, the TV. This alone is an enormous step for most modern people.
Notice the resistance you may feel around stepping away from electronic devices, the stories that come up. For example: your work requires that you are always available. Or: after a long work day, all you want to do is unwind with your favorite TV show. Or: what if you miss an important text?
But really, if you sit with this, you may see that the world is not going to end if you spend a little bit of time away from your electronic devices.
You might resolve to have one TV-free night per week. Just one night a week in which you sit quietly, perhaps reading a book, listening to music, cuddling your pets, or taking a bath.
Or you might designate time on the weekend during which you will not write emails or texts, or check social media. If you do not think you can make it a whole day without doing this, perhaps you can give yourself an electronic device free morning on a weekend. From waking until lunchtime, you will not email, text, or check social media. Try to commit to the practice for a set period of time: you will do this for a month, let’s say.
What many people will find, after initial resistance and “withdrawal,” is that they come to deeply enjoy and relish such quiet mornings or evenings. And that even a small amount of regular, scheduled quiet time can be enormously restorative for the body, mind, and nervous system.
Many people know that eating sugary, processed food isn’t good for the body. It takes some effort, but cutting these foods out of one’s diet has an enormously positive impact on one’s overall well-being.
It is the same here. A constant diet of sensory stimulation via one’s phone, computer and TV is easily as destructive to one’s health as a poor diet.
Overstimulation is particularly destructive for children — as much, if not far more so, then sugary food.
There is no reason to feel bad or guilty about the habit of being continually plugged into electronic devices. It is the cultural norm in this time period. Most people in developed countries do it.
Of course, in the recent past, it was the cultural norm for most people to smoke cigarettes, or subsist on a diet of processed food because it was quick and convenient.
Therefore it is always wise to question the prevailing cultural norms of whatever time period you happen to be living in.
So: just gently question the practice of “always being plugged in.”
Particularly do so if you consider yourself a sensitive person who does not generally do well with a lot of noise and activity.
Play with creating quiet niches in your life: a TV-free-evening here, a text/social media free morning there. Make it fun and enjoyable. Imagine what you will do in that open, quiet time. Maybe you will go for a walk and really be present with the sights, sounds and smells of the world outside. Maybe you will curl up with a book. Maybe you will take a lovely, guilt-free nap.
Just decide. Say that Thursday night will be your dedicated TV-free night. Or that Saturday, from waking until lunch — that will be your quiet morning. You will try it for two weeks. Make it a small, easy thing to commit to. So you can see that the world is not going to end if you are unplugged for a brief period of time.
Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just play with it. See how it feels.
If you are someone who in any way feels burned out — just a little bit of quiet time will go a very long way toward restoring a healthy balance.