Here’s What I Think: Silence

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Phil Mullen

Silence is one of the most powerful tools that humans have, and the best part about it is that anyone and everyone can utilize it.

The ability to just sit down all alone and be completely silent is a beautiful thing. It’s how you can discover who you really are and open up the door to a much more fulfilling and genuine life.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Though Socrates spoke this line almost 2,500 years ago, it nevertheless remains very true to this day. One can get so much more out of life by taking moments throughout the day to breathe deeply and feel everything going on around them. At night, taking 5 minutes to just sit in silence and/or meditate without distraction is crucial to getting the most out of the one life we get on this earth.

Not only does being silent help us better understand ourselves, but it helps us better understand other people as well. Being silent in conversation and genuinely listening to what someone has to say can go a long way and helps keep an open-mind. This is needed more than ever today because so many people feel the need to talk over other people and fail to realize that they might possibly be wrong. Completely listening to people helps put things into perspective in ways we never could have thought of before.

That said, achieving genuine silence and getting something out of it can be very difficult. I was listening to a podcast while driving the other day about a man named John Francis. He did not speak for 17 years.  The story is somewhat long but his reasoning for being silent was to be able to hear what other people had to say. For so much of his life, he would get extremely defensive any time someone made a point, and he realized he needed to change. Through this experience, though absolutely nuts, he learned the value of others’ thoughts.

With so many things trying to grasp our attention nowadays as social media skyrockets, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by noise and simply go through the motions of life. Taking a few moments out of each day to reflect or be thankful for something can help make your life extensively more meaningful.

As you read this, you might be thinking that this is probably only true among introverts, but it is actually just as effective in extroverts; I would consider myself an extrovert but I greatly value the moments I can just sit in silence and breathe.

Now try it (right now): take one minute to take a deep breath in and out, and just ask yourself how it feels; over time you’ll be dumbfounded by the differences you see and feel.