Today we are living in a world which is a continuous stream of noise. The source of this ubiquitous and deafening noise is multitudinous. This isn’t just auditory noise; there is visual noise as well.
I think of noise as anything which can act to distract your mind from some more valuable area of focus. We are now bombarded with radio, television, smartphones, texts, e-mails, memes, alerts, alarms, advertisements, traffic, sirens, crowds, trains, buses, etc. It’s literally endless.
It’s inconceivable that anyone can get anything done or do any constructive thinking at all. From the moment we awaken in the morning, usually by a buzzer or chime, the mad rush is on – we are thrust into never-ending forward motion and activity. This goes on all day long, usually including a harrowing commute to and from work or school, and back home for more TV and internet surfing before we finally crash land into bed and prepare for another clamorous day.
Often we feel like Bill Murray’s character in Ground Hog Day, where each day is an identical replay of the day before.
Here, I offer some advice on how to break this pathological cycle of madness and help gain some badly needed clarity in our lives.
The following approach will help you immeasurably to take back control of your life and your mind. This will also be helpful in regaining sight of who you are and where you genuinely wish to go. This powerful technique is called silent solitude.
We all have struggles, challenges, and obstacles we have to face and contend within our lives. These situations require serious concentration, deliberation, and planning if we are to deal with them most efficiently and effectively.
Unfortunately, since most of us are being inundated with continuous noise, it becomes almost impossible to optimize our ability to make the best if these situations. Instead, we tend to manage these things on the run. This is less than ideal.
A much better way of approaching our problems, as well as ambitions, is through the use of silent solitude. This highly useful tool must be scheduled as a part of our daily routine. It won’t happen by accident, and you won’t simply find time to do it. You must make the time in your already jam-packed calendar. Typically, this means getting up an hour earlier each day (no matter how early you are already rising). I didn’t say this was going to be easy – but nothing truly worthwhile ever is.
The exercise of silent solitude is precisely what it sounds like. This is the practice of being completely alone in a completely silent space. The first thing in the morning tends to be the very best time to do this. Just before bed is another potential option, but this will often result in one falling asleep instead of getting anything done.
For me, this means getting up at five and sitting by myself in the living room while the rest of the family sleeps. I just sit there – silently. I don’t play music. I don’t read. I don’t write in my journal. I just sit quietly and think. I think about whatever comes to mind.
This is not meditation (which is also an important mental exercise but very different). I’m not attempting to quiet the inner voice. On the contrary, I’m taking the time actually to listen. This is something that almost no one does actively. In my opinion, it is one of the most useful and instructional things an individual can ever do. Just sit comfortably and listen.
This is much more difficult than it may sound at first. Some people find it nearly impossible. I suggest you plan to begin with 5 or 10 minutes per day. That’s likely all you’ll be able to tolerate at first. Work your way up to 30 minutes or so eventually. This is a fascinating experience. Remember, you do this completely alone and in total silence. Just listen to your thoughts and the stillness of your environment. There’s so much to hear once all the noise is gone. After you complete this exercise each day, you may then want to work in your journal and capture some of your new ideas. You can then reflect, create goals, and make plans of action. You’re likely to be exploding with new ideas. You may also want to do some high-quality reading then and studying at this point.
Finally, you can segue back into your regular morning routine. I think you’ll feel refreshed and invigorated by employing this extraordinary approach to the day. I hope you’ll try it and would love to hear what your personal experience was like and how it has affected your life after doing it for a while.