The sooner we start learning to live fully, avoiding the waste of “unlived life,” the better for our self growth. Yet prior to experiencing a crisis or trauma, few people live in terms of fullness in self understanding and development.
After three years suffering from a multimillion financial bankruptcy from his business, Mark, one of my patients with childhood psycho-trauma, was compelled by his paternal relatives to seek therapy.
He never improved in his self awareness, marital, and financial situation since his business failed. So, for the first time in his adult life, Mark allowed himself to sit still and processed things more completely this time.
For some people, illness, impending death, relationship breakdown, or other traumatic experiences become the impulsion for them to “face their self.” Before, they never gave a thought where they were racing to for they’re always in such a hurry.
So now, in silence and inactivity, they’re provided with a golden opportunity to bring illumination into the hidden aspects of themselves to radically change their lives.
Writer Lewis Mumford wrote in his book “The Conduct of Life:” “Too many of us wait for an illness …to entertain solitary moments … We should not depend on such accidents to make a timely orientation possible. A half hour of solitude, detached and ’empty’ – that is essential for a new beginning.”
Indeed, Mumford seems to be saying here and encouraging each one of us to spend at least half an hour a day in complete silence and inactivity and solitude, with no outside interruption.
Self development requires appreciating silence and inactivity. Quiet time. Even prayers to heal. We don’t always have to be doing something.
I remember my frequent sittings in the parks or malls, just bringing my self to a point of “emptiness.” Even amidst crowds, I’ve learned to feel my soul open and strengthen like a muscle.
It’s during these times that I experience the healing goodness of silence, inactivity. Then, I’m able to see through the surface to the depths.