This week, no doubt a cruel Halloween prank, Hurricane Sandy devastated the state of New Jersey and wreaked havoc in several other states. Here we sit miraculously alive, wet, cold and hungry in the dark. My heart goes out to the thousands whose lives have been devastated by this horrific storm. The toys of our lives are silent. The usual frenetic communication is dead. Silence reigns.
It's astounding how uncomfortable we are with silence. We have lost our capacity to be still with ourselves. We are in desperate need of entertainment. Why is that? Is it just a new habit, a fabulous gift of our technology? Or is it something deeper? Have we become afraid of the space between our thoughts? Are we leery of what fears, what hobgoblins we might find?
We are very lucky. We have canned tuna and water to drink, and our homes are intact. So many in our neighborhood are in the same fortunate condition. One neighbor has appointed himself town crier. He's better than 1010 WINS. Another is cleaning up storm debris with a vengeance as if declaring to mother nature, "You see, you didn't harm us, everything looks the same."
In the darkness and the silence I met my petty, whining self. I found myself possessed with an irrational lust for anything hot to drink. Suddenly I was addicted to something simply because I couldn't have it -- coffee. I have become trite and small-minded. My cats don't know I can't boil water or take a hot shower (and smell like a moose) or access my computer's files. They have no idea what a challenge it is just to notify friends and family we are okay. It's totally unfair they can see in the dark and don't have to worry about batteries. Don't they know this is a disaster? No. They play and frolic in the moment and make so much joyous noise one barely notices the silence.
But you can't ignore it. It's there calling to you. Although I've been meditating every morning for quite a while now, my petulant self pouts because now I don't have a choice. I want to share something with you. Before you leap into your day, try this. Turn everything you can off and sit quietly each morning and simply be, even if it's only for 10 minutes. I have been choosing to access that silence every morning and because of that, my life has changed. Somehow I carry that little well of silent gratitude and peace within me like a steadily burning candle. It's a magnet to everyone I meet.
People have told me I seem changed and ask what I have done. They tell me I look younger. I think that light we are all searching for -- the love, too -- is in that quiet space in our hearts. In that silence is your power to create, your contact with the numinous and the power of gratitude. Most of all, in that silence is all the guidance you will ever need.
Shhh... Treat yourself to the surprise of silence.
Let me know what you discover.
For more by Adria Firestone, click here.
For more on unplugging and recharging, click here.