How many of you, extroverts, wonder when you were young why some people wanted to go on a “quiet” vacation? As I could not comprehend the desire to be away from people and activities, I questioned, “Who would want to stay in a log cabin by themselves?” I also queried, “Why would anyone want to be that solitary?” Now that I am a woman of a certain age who listens a great deal I understand.
Even Some Extroverts Need Quiet
Being eighty percent extroverted, disconnecting from other human beings for too long is unhealthy for me. Although it is a virtual engagement, I am with people all day long, individually, or in group Zoom meetings. Consequently, twenty percent of me that is introverted requires recharging and restoring through a quiet period. My 100 percent of extroverted friends and colleagues do not require this period of stillness, but I am a complicated creature. I cannot have that constant stimulation of people, noise, and activity.
What does quiet do for those of us who are primarily extroverted? We sit in time-limited moments of silence not only to restore body and mind but to invite new thoughts and ideas. When I am thinking about my next speech or article, I want quiet. Does that mean there has to be absolute silence? No. The beauty of background classical music invites quiet and fomentation of thought. I do not even hear the music, but when I briefly emerge from my focused attention, I listen to those majestic strings and winds. Eventually, I go inward again to evoke new ideas.
Quiet also allows me to be more attuned when reading a good book or any important written material. Absorption of the readings seems to be more pronounced and fluid when I have the lovely stillness of quiet.
The Power of Silence
I have never made a silent retreat but know people who have. There are no distractions. Not only is there no talking, reading, or writing, but this exercise brings participants to an altered state of consciousness.
What about the monks and other holy individuals who take the vow of silence? What do they attain by doing so? From everything I have read, religious people who make this commitment are looking for a greater connection to God. For those nonreligious individuals, the vow of silence makes a statement about issues such as oppression.
Whatever form of quiet or silence someone chooses, we know that it signifies a period of reflection and, hopefully, growth. By going inward, which occurs through mindfulness meditation, hypnosis, or mental rehearsal, individuals quiet their inner being to invite peace and enlightenment.
Quiet can also encourage you to focus on experiences masked when there is noise around you. The visuals may become more pronounced. You may begin to notice things that never seemed important before. If you walk outside, your quietness may amplify the sounds of nature and its many inhabitants. Also, you might take a deep breath and focus on your movement and energy, recognizing the therapeutic nature of this quiet activity.
Quiet Gives Opportunity To Others
Most significant, if you are quiet and listen to others with intention, you may be allowing someone else to speak. This particular person may have been looking for an opening to vocalize their thoughts, and your ability to be quiet, provided it for them. Surprisingly, this person who rarely shares could have much brewing beneath the surface. You may never know the impact that your moment of silence but attention could have on that person.
What Are Your Thoughts About Quiet?
What happens when you have periods of silence? Do you believe it offers you time for growth and change? What have been your experiences? I invite you to share.