Do you read the cereal packet at breakfast? You're injecting clutter. Do you leave the TV or radio on in the background when you're ironing, washing up, doing general tidying? Clutter. Do you read a book at lunch? Do you drive in silence - or to music? Do you leave a magazine ... in there? Clutter. Does silence make you nervous or somehow wrong? If there's nothing worth watching on the TV, do you turn it off - or switch to the least awful program?
It seems we are more at ease when our minds have been given something to follow; almost anything! We are freed from the need to direct our thinking for ourselves. It seems easier.
But if you can be at peace in silence, you will find treasures worth the effort.
Like a computer, you have limited thinking power. If your brain is following the radio/newspaper/TV it isn't doing much else, so this resource is wasted. When you remove that burden, the mind does wonderful things.
- Freed from your piped agenda, it will choose its own. You will find your thoughts ranging far and wide. Let them go there. Don't push - don't resist - just follow.
- You'll find this new thinking will solve problems for you and create new opportunities. Take them, and - like a plane changing course by just a few degrees - your life will end up in a very different and better place. This is the first treasure.
- After a while, you'll feel improved inner calm; a very pleasant tranquillity which will last quite a bit longer than your silent period; if you keep topping it up, it's yours to keep. This is your third treasure.
- If you stick with it for more than a week, you'll find a new stability is being built at the base of your being. A solid foundation of certainty and calm which is a bedrock. Sitting on that, you'll be able to ride out life's turmoils with improved resilience. Your forth treasure.
- If you stick with it for a month or more, you'll notice that your whole mode of thinking is altered. You're still you, but all of these things will combine to give you wisdom. Simply - you'll be wiser; you'll make better decisions, more creative solutions, more patient and more loving interactions.
Small. Kill the radio for one leg of your journey to work in the car or eat breakfast with no distraction; just you and the Weetabix; hardcore.
Stay with it through the reflex to make it stop and through the discomfort and irritation and boredom which wells up when you first try this stuff.
If you make it through one breakfast/car journey, see if you can do it daily or on alternate days. It's better to choose a level you can maintain happily for a long time, than to go at it full-on for two days and then toss it out as too boring to tolerate. If it will help you, choose something so ridiculously small that even you can commit to it and stay that way for a week or more. You know - tortoise/hare, and all of that.
Maintain your commitment to this project by finding your talisman.
So - go forth and STFU!