But then there’s the don’t want to. Have you noticed what happens when it’s quiet? Shhhh for 30 seconds and find out. Yep, it’s not quiet, is it? You can hear your own thoughts. I once heard a funny and poignant man say if he wanted group therapy, he only need go for a drive. All that chatter, right? Your own thoughts?
I used to be the kind of person whose own thoughts frightened or annoyed or saddened me. Quiet meant, for me, ruminating all my woes. That was no fun. Presently, my woes are largely healed up, but when I am quiet, I start to regurgitate a never-ending to-do list. No, I mean it; that list never ends. Yuck. It’s much easier to turn the radio on and fill the quiet.
Alas, I know silence — or as close as you can come to it — is a good idea, so I’ve found a few ways for a don’t-know-how or don’t-want-to person to try it.
• Just do it. Be quiet, sit in silence. Try 5 minutes if that’s all you can manage. Try it in the morning over coffee if that’s your thing or, maybe, on a walk sans music. Don’t try to do anything other than be quiet. Once you’ve managed five minutes, go for 10.
• Pick a setting and be quiet with the purpose of hearing what sounds there are to hear. For example, you might take 10 minutes on a park bench. No talking, no music, none of that, but listen purposefully for what’s around you. This is a fascinating exercise. Depending on where you are, you might be amazed. Do this enough and you grow to appreciate the symphony your surroundings provide — say, the frog on bass, the chickadee on soprano if you’re outside or the rhythmic, delicate ticks and sloshes you might hear in your home.