We have all experienced that one time where there was an utter silence and feeling of awkwardness. A natural reaction could be that you may fill up that space by choosing to speak. And, during such a moment, I think to myself stop. But then still I end up filling up space, because I’d rather have that, than a sense of discomfort.
Quotes like speech is silver, silence is golden remind me to sometimes avoid doing that unnecessary, filling up space talking. Yes, I can be extroverted and yes I enjoy talking, but not to everyone or all the time. That’s an energy drainer for my body – literally.
And then there is the other side of the coin: times I caught myself doing the opposite, not speaking, driven by confusion or passive aggression. Then I am basically giving people a silent treatment. This could be caused by different things, but usually it’s because something seems to upset me and I cannot articulate nor make up my mind about what this exactly is or I know precisely what it is, but I am simply not in the mood to speak about it – for whatever reason.
‘’…revelation in the midst of withdrawal from society and whilst being in silence.’’
Speaking about silence: over the years I have heard experiences of individuals who either offered or participated in silence retreats (for instance by IofC). Travelling to a more or less exotic destination to sit in nature, away from society without speaking. There are many variations on these types of retreats. For example inspired by theory U, a bunch of international CEO’s would participate in a program wherein they were individually and completely solo put in the middle of nowhere in nature, far away from their home countries. This to cope with reality without nature knowing their social, professional and bank account status. Pretty humbling.
Nevertheless, going back to the silence retreats and leaving society, I never really thought about it in further depth. Or in relation with my spiritual islamic tradition. But recently, during the holy month ramadan, I came to realize that pretty much most – if not all – prophets and key figures, such as Mary, from the Abrahamic traditions received some sort of revelation in the midst of withdrawal from society and whilst being in silence.
This got me thinking: if these historically inspiring change makers, who lived in different times from our own, sought silence and withdrawal – then how much more do ordinary people like you and I need that given all distractions we have nowadays? I think we are hungry for spirituality and a deeper connection with ourselves outside of our daily life structures. And different hypes and trends coming and going is the proof of that pudding.
So what does this tell me? Well, it serves as a beautiful reminder. One that I need every once in a while and that ramadan has been giving me consistently. That I want to experience a camping quest in nature, all by myself – no wifi, no phone, just me.
Falling asleep while watching the stars. Listening to my intuition, remain honest – no matter what – and focus on simplicity by avoiding my phone (so don’t expect direct text messages/ WhatsApp responses).
To gain a deeper connection with myself and explore more about the world and my faith.
And, that I aim at not filling up spaces that are not mine to fill, both on- and offline.
Feel free to remind me of that in the future, because I am sure it will go with ups and downs. 🙂 Much wisdom and contentment for the last few days of ramadan. Peace!