Running From Silence
It’s amazing to me that even after all my years of experiences, including thousands of yoga classes and hundreds of hours in therapy, it is still so difficult for me to sit in silence. But truthfully, I guess it is really no surprise.
Just the other day I was winding down from a challenging yoga class and entering into savasana (a final resting pose) when I felt the strong desire to get up and bolt out of the room. It was actually painful both physically and emotionally. It really felt as if I might die, a feeling that I have attempted to avoid at all costs throughout my life.
I know why the discomfort was there. I know what was causing it. I also know it does the same to everyone. It’s why we can’t be anywhere without some kind of distraction. From the radio to the television, the Internet, alcohol, we will do anything to fill the empty and quiet space that we face with simply sitting and being. For a long time my way to deal with it was to turn to food. I went through a period in the throes of a terrible eating disorder. At the time I used to say every day of my life was like “walking on a tightrope with no net underneath me.” My obsession with my weight, food and exercise was my net. I couldn’t get through the challenges that life presented me without turning to them. That is why no matter who told me, “You will turn it around. Think positively! You can do it,” I knew that I was dealing with way more than just food. I was dealing with my very existence.
It is why to this day I constantly am moving.
I very often dread the silence that I encounter when I’m not busy. I need something to put my attention on, God forbid I am forced to examine my soul, my purpose, my pain or my feelings.
But I have recently come to find that running from the silence actually brings up more pain and suffering. The silence will catch up to you at some point and you won’t be prepared for it. You won’t have the tools you will need to face it head on. It is true that practice makes perfect. Well, maybe it doesn’t make perfect but it does make it easier each time you do so.
I strive to meditate every morning. It has taken many years to get to this place. I used to struggle with sitting for even just one minute. But then something interesting happened. Once I got into a routine, I actually started to crave it. Now I find it actually makes me feel stronger and more able to dismiss the negative thoughts that float around in my head. It actually scares me when I don't start my day sitting in meditation.
I highly suggest you give it a try. There are plenty of meditation books, online tutorials and apps out there to help you get started.
Some of my favorites include:
One of my yoga instructors turned me on to the free mobile app, Insight Timer. It is the definitely the one meditation tool I turn to most often.
Don't get discouraged if you struggle with being able to simply sit for just a minute or two. Just keep doing it. I promise that one day you will actually find yourself craving the peace and calm that meditation offers.