By Hwaa Irfan
One Canadian Muslim sister who was actually comfortable with herself, began to feel ostracized in an attempt to attend more Muslim socials. It was not that she was asocial; it was that she did not speak loudly, her speech was directed only at those she spoke with, and she did not speak to entertain. After attending several social occasions, the sister was becoming fraught with the belief that there was actually something wrong with her!
Instructions abound when it comes to how to avoid silence, you know, the silence that takes place in any conversation, time of the day/night, even when learning how to speak another language. Contemporary lifestyle praises the extrovert and turns introversion into a psychological illness, and in some cases making introverts psychologically imbalanced.
Too many people trying to avoid losing face, with even a recent “scientific” survey which supports the above.
- “The general phenomenon I’m interested in is why people are so busy doing what they are doing in modern society,” says Christopher K. Hsee, of the University of Chicago.
“People are running around, working hard, way beyond the basic level.” Sure, there are reasons, like making a living, earning money, accruing fame, helping others, and so on. But, Hsee says, “I think there’s something deeper: We have excessive energy and we want to avoid idleness.”.
The conclusion the research came to was that people would rather do anything, even if it is pointless, than be idle.
- “If we can devise a mechanism for idle people to engage in activity that is at least not harmful, I think it is better than destructive busyness,”
The fear of idleness does go much deeper, if one delves to the fear of hearing one’s own thoughts! How many times have you tried to engage in less superficial conversation to find the person one is speaking to has changed the subject, or is doing something else whilst talking to you?
This whole process starts by the very nature in which we greet each other. “ How are you?” is a frequently repeated phrase throughout the course of the day, to which the questioner really does not want to know how you are! A door closes on the part of us which desperately wants to share until one reaches the point until one cannot share, or fears sharing. Instead we escape to online social networking to find some stranger who we can be anything we want to be but true selves.
“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself”. – Sir Thomas Browne
With the proliferation of mobile usage, it is very interesting to watch when people choose to use them. One can be at the cinema, in a supermarket mall, at a restaurant, at a gathering, and one observes the moment a person feels they do not have anything to say/contribute/understand, they get on the mobile. Their posture changes, they feel “important”, and they feel as if they are busy as everyone else.
The Uncertainties in Our Lives
It was not that long ago, when transport was much slower, and automobiles were none existent. Communication involved more words, and more silence with those words. There was more space for everything around us including ourselves. As city life became dominant, there is actually less value placed on diversity, and more value placed on “types”, the types that facilitates the hunger of the city. The city overwhelms, and claims its citizens, enforcing certain lifestyle that does not become humanity. Walking around with unprocessed thoughts and feelings, no wonder so many fear silence.
- “Silence is deep as eternity; speech is shallow as time”. – Thomas Carlyle
Not seeing the discomfort of those who appear to do so well socially, and the workings of their inner minds, we allude ourselves that they are happier than are in control of their lives. Yet, if we were to sit down with them, we would find that they are not so happy, and that their perspective on life adds no meaning, yet we desire to be like that. If we were to honor ourselves more we would feel less misplaced/threatened by the “other” in our lives, and the courage to be silent every now and again would be less daunting.
Reclaiming Our Inner Silence
One can never know it until one tries it – the silence that is! It has many lessons to teach us, and solutions to problems, and realizations that could help us lead a better life. Once we get pass the monkey chatter of our minds, and let go of those fearful thoughts, a new world, the “we” that we really are is waiting to make contact. We begin to trust ourselves, as our thoughts and feelings become less buried by the noise and chatter of what everybody else wants. We begin to see ourselves as we face our inner fears that have become our wall in life We begin to see our fears are the script we re-write every day which prevents us from living in the present where our real power is. We begin to see what is real, what did happen, why it happened, and what did not happen. We begin to recognize our own thoughts, instead of being overwhelmed by others. We begin to differentiate the real from the imaginary, but this is not obtained by the obsessive holding onto fears, and negative thoughts, it is obtained by doing the opposite – letting go, because
“Silence is the sound of the Unknown” – Grand Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil al Haqqani.
What is it we fear, change? But what if that change is one that can make our lives glow, yes glow?
When a situation arises that makes one hold ones breath instead ask yourself in your state of silence without answering:
o Why is this happening?
o Why now?
o What am I being asked to learn from this?
o How am I going to be changed by it?
o How am I resisting the change that wants to come?
o What is the change that wants to come?
By doing this one allows for one’s higher self to play a role in one’s life, and wait and see what happens? This is where patience is most paramount, because in the haste one does not read His signs that guide.
To fear is natural, but it is not our friend, it is our enemy, the means by which the shayateen eats away at our potential, our talents, and our purpose. If the immediate fear is being alone then walk with the sounds of silence in the open air, by the river, in the garden, the park, the music that connects to the inner self, the mountains, the hills, and the desert! Oh, how much Divine bounty has come from the desert, which our minds have unfortunately misinterpreted.
What do you hear now from within? Open a diary and write it down. By self observing in this way, one opens the inner doors that have led to emotional pain. In this way one entrains one’s self to one’s higher self. With time, one becomes more sensitive, in tune, more balanced, and more at ease with one’s self, and is able to be one’s true self with others.
Oh, the others! Now one has stepped outside of the mold, one also has to learn to respect one’s self and others, but by not fearing to be yourself, you help others to not fear themselves.
A Vow by Christine Arylo
o I vow to know my truest self, deeply.
o I vow to freely & fully express myself, never apologizing for or holding back from who I am.
o I vow to always be completely honest with myself.
o I vow to love myself for exactly who I am right now.
o I vow to celebrate myself.
o I vow to forgive myself when I’m not perfect.
o I vow to see my beauty everyday.
o I vow to find kindness and compassion instead of judgment and comparison for myself.
Sound has a direct impact on the human body. Every cell, every organ, every bone resonates to a certain sound frequency. The sound of the human voice can direct or misdirect the body unless one is in tune with one’s self!
Association for Psychological Science (2010, July 29). To make One Happy, Make One Busy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2010/07/100729101615.htm
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