Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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The Gifts of Silence

Susan Velasquez

Time has become a speed freak. It’s Monday, and then I blink, and it’s Friday. This has been going on for quite some time now. Truth is, I need five full days to fit everything in.

Leisure, solitude, privacy, silence and self-sufficiency are all relatives of time. Ordinary time has gone through serious behavioral changes. Therefore, we need a deeper understanding of these other states of mind.

Leisure has an exotic aspect to it. It carries fantasies of running off to a tropical island that offers warm, aqua-blue waters and white sandy beaches. Evenings filled with starry nights, sitting under a canopy of stars with our best and brightest selves, fully present and engaged.

Since we already live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, leisure’s fantasies carry a bit less power to convince our over-wrought minds that running away would do much of anything.

Privacy is much more basic. It is a requirement for self-dignity because, at its base, it means freedom from intrusion. Privacy is one of those rights that have been eroded until it is only a shadow of its former self. 

We are bombarded by noise pollution that is so pervasive that most of us are shell-shocked into shutting our eyes and ears to most of what is happening around us. That may seem like an acceptable solution until we take a closer look at the price of living numbed out.

When we take time to reflect and time to feel, accepting that challenge is daunting. Privacy and leisure become active in our lives when we let go of the habit of speed living. When expediency is our main criteria, we lose sight of the pleasures of slowing down and savoring our choices.

We need to withdraw from the endless to-do lists in our heads and silence our mind chatter. Then, we can examine what is currently happening and use this knowledge as an opportunity to make decisions that are more fully fair, right, and wise rather than quick and fast.

The only way to cultivate a consistent relationship with our intuitive guidance is through leisure time to both reflect and feel with our six senses actively open, receptive, and fully engaged.

In a society that confuses quantity with quality and often equates more and bigger with better, it is no wonder that self-worth gets tied in with doing. Often, there is a fear that we will offend or hurt those we love by taking specific time that we can call our own. When we understand that taking time to be alone is a crucial and necessary ingredient for self-awareness, it takes its rightful place as a basic need rather than an unnecessary luxury.

When our lives require an extreme awareness of others, whether because we are raising a family or our careers are service-oriented, we need time to withdraw and reflect. Otherwise, we are in danger of losing touch with ourselves. When the need for solitude and self-sufficiency is ignored and put on a prolonged starvation diet, we lose the vital knowledge that we exist outside of our usefulness to others.

It is important that we come to a true understanding that time to reflect and feel is like entering into the realm of prayer. Inner calm is not a thing we make. It is something we enter. 

When we give ourselves permission to visit the inner garden of our heart’s desires, alone; our soul can meet its God. The silence we encounter there can tell us yet another of its fine and inspiring stories. This use of time has the power to return a sparkle to our eyes and a renewed vitality and passion to our lives.

Susan is a local writer and author of Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Learn more at: susanvelasquez.com.

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