Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Personal Habit of Silence

I am one of those people who benefits from practicing a personal habit of silence.
Unlike my husband and daughter who enjoy music in the background while they work at their laptops, I enjoy silence. I find myself driving in silence most of the time with the radio off. The external noise like house and road sounds seem to act like accelerometers to my head noise, and I seek refuge in silence.
I’ve been meditating on keeping my figurative mouth shut, as in not getting too engaged in expressing my opinions on what’s happening in the world. It’s not that I don’t have opinions, because I do hold strong positions on all sorts of things. However, as I routinely read blogs, columnists and commentators, I tire of the volleying back and forth between conservative and liberal views without much serious openness to the other’s view. The volleys frequently feel like assaults to me.
“What difference does expressing my opinion make,” I ask myself. Pollsters, political advisors and activists would argue that making one’s opinions heard is paramount. Speaking out is competitive. Primacy in having one’s voice heard is about dominance and privilege.
I wonder if I am causing any harm when I state my opinions. I am more interested in discussing the questions and raising the issues than in arguing or defending my positions. The posture I want to practice is one of sitting quietly with the questions and issues and contemplating the flow around them. Silence can be golden.

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