The 8-Fold Path-Step 2: Avoid Talking

 

Unless we are hermits or are living in an eremitic cloister, it’s going to be fairly difficult to avoid talking altogether. And I don’t think we should as long as we live in the broader human society.

Therefore step 2 on The 8-Fold Path for Living Daily in the Silence is to

Avoid situations where I’m obligated to talk.

However, we can’t always avoid talking. We have spouses or partners, parents and siblings, bosses and coworkers, customers or patients — and all of these folks generally expect us to talk to them. And to avoid them would probably cause us more problems than any amount of silence might benefit us.

Nevertheless, there are ways in which we can minimize getting ourselves into situations where we have to talk.

For example, with spouses and partners we can often substitute a non-verbal gesture for a verbal one. Touching can often communicate far more than words.

When my mother was alive avoiding verbal communication was nigh impossible. However, I could often go to a different part of the house or go for a walk. With my father, since he talks very little, there’s no problem living daily in the silence. Although, he does like music and he plays it rather loudly. That’s where those earplugs come in handy.

Work is perhaps the biggest challenge. But even there, we can pursue silence and we’ll get into this more in the next three points.

When I was employed, talking was part of my job. So it was difficult to avoid it completely. However, since my schedule was somewhat flexible, I could come in early when no one was around and leave early before the Chatty Kens and Cathys came around.

However, you may not have the luxury of a flexible schedule. If not, then over the next three weeks I’ll give you some tools that will at least promote the spirit of silence.

While work may be the biggest challenge, living with other people can be equally daunting if we want to avoid situations where we are obligated to talk. Non-verbals can help. But they can’t eliminate the fact that most people like to talk. It is then incumbent upon us to find ways where we don’t hurt feelings in order to promote silence.

Going for a walk or hanging out in a different part of the house can help. But if those don’t work, then you may just have to ask for some silence time and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As always, comments are welcome. Let me know if you have other ideas or other techniques that work for you. Until next time, listen to the sound of silence!

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8-Fold Path: Silence, Where and When

Silence is the gateway to better health, both mentally and physically, as well as being the gateway to a richer spiritual life.

However, we are so busy and noise is everywhere. Where and when can we get in a little silence? I’ll cover this in more detail when I get into the eight steps themselves. For now, though, I’ll give you a few ideas for where and when you can practice silence.

Where

This is probably the easier of the two. Because you can practice silence anywhere. If you have in hand a good pair of earplugs, then you can have silence wherever you are and wherever you go. Just pop those little wonders into your ears and, voilà!, instant quiet and peace.

One place that’s easy to enjoy silence is in your car. Just turn off all the noisemaking gadgets while you’re driving. Aside from road noise, your car is a fairly quiet place. And if your house is too noisy, you can always go sit in your car. Tilt the seat back a little and enjoy the quiet.

There are also places in your house that are fairly quiet. Go there. If kids or spouse have a tendency to interrupt, tell them not to bother you for the next 10 or 15 minutes, or however long you need.

Noise is distracting. Even if it’s your favorite song. And even more so if you’re driving and talking on your phone, or dictating, or listening to a book or a report. And distracted driving has been known to kill people.

When

Where you can practice silence is rendered fairly easy thanks to earplugs. When is a bit more restrictive.

Obviously there are times we must be social. The dinner table, for example, or a team meeting. A business meeting or social gathering. And that’s okay. After all, we are social creatures.

There are, though, many opportunities in a day when one can practice silence.

Early morning or late at night are excellent times to do so. Or when one is alone. I find an early morning walk in the neighborhood park to be very conducive for experiencing silence. The mothers and their children have not yet descended upon the place.

I had times at work where I could spend a few minutes in an empty room to get a bit of quiet.

The 8-Fold Path

Next week I’ll begin going step-by-step through the 8-Fold Path. Each step will enhance our appreciation of silence, as well as gain us the peace and tranquility that comes with silence.

If you’ve had experiences with silence, I’d love to hear about them.

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