I’m reminded of the lyrics from Paul Simon’s song “The Sounds of Silence” when I consider just being. Think about any normal day and what transpires. We get up in the morning to the accompaniment of some type of noise – an alarm clock, the smart phone alarm, the TV, music, kitchen sounds, or showers going. We head into work with the ear buds in, on a call already, the latest business audio book playing or reviewing the schedule with the kids on who has what activity when. We stop for coffee where the TV is blaring, cell phones are going off, music is playing in the background too, and conversations are flying. We get to our offices where in many cases the TV is going in the waiting rooms, the meetings are ready to start, the phone is ringing, the emails are pouring in, tweets are waiting to be sent, all day long until we’re back in the car or on the subway, rinse and repeat…….
Our lives are lived so fast with so many responsibilities and inputs at any given moment that we have forgotten the art of being. Being still. Being silent. Being in thought. Being mindful. Being prayerful. It’s no wonder that meditation, yoga, and massage have become so popular. Aside from the health benefits, people yearn for space and time. Even when life was agriculturally based and very hard for most people, the work day offered moments that allowed for introspection. Whether gathering the eggs or working an area of a field, there was time to hear one’s own voice. The beauty of nature around you called to an inner voice that needs to be felt and heard. Our ability to see, feel, and know our Creator was tuned in.
We have inserted so much noise into our lives that we suffocate the opportunity for our being to even surface. It pushes through often in crises when someone we love is lost or when our bodies break down and we have to pay attention, not just in the short run, but permanently if we want to live.
And yet, it IS an actual choice. We may have allowed it to happen, because it’s what we see others do, and we perceive we are somehow not keeping up if we don’t run the race in the same way. Yes, keep apprised of technology. Yes, make the meetings. And “Yes” to some other things too. If you are past the kid years, the car can be a sacred space that allows you time to pray, to think, to practice some deep breathing relaxation. Go to bed early enough that you can rise without an alarm clock waking you up. Set aside some quiet time at work where you can just think and strategize instead of doing. The advantages in life often come from not doing what others are doing but having the savvy and restraint to see that there is another way. Being instead of doing can lead to the insights that allow transformations to occur – in the moment, in leadership, in our souls, in our lives – “In the Sounds of Silence.”
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