“I do not mind someone talking to me, as long as they do not mind me not listening or talking to them.”–― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
At first glance, Mokhonoana’s statement seems a bit off. It seems to be counter to all the “relationship” advice that has been given by personal coaches and pop psychologists through the years. However, upon closer evaluation, Mokhonoana’s words make sense. Especially if one is the company of someone who chatters on and on in order to avoid awkward silence. His statement finds merit among those of us who encounter proselytizers and salespersons making cold-calls selling their belief systems and products.
By default, my nature is slow and quiet. Ambient, “space”, and “new age” music without lyrics speaks to me more clearly than popular anthems, ballads, the blues, or the opera even though I appreciate most music genres. I like to observe the sky alone or with a friend of similar temperament. I prefer meditation that is informal and spontaneous. A special treat is sitting still in the early morning, awaiting sunrise in the countryside with only chirping crickets as companions. I treasure a few hours in the afternoon spent on farmland with the music of corn plants rustling in the breeze with meadow larks providing the lyrics. These bring feelings of deep peace. These are personal necessities that I need in various ratios that vary from day to day and week to week.
Such scenarios are catalysts to inner stillness and tranquility. Such peace and calm allows creativity, mental wellness, and joy to be revealed. This special place is where you meet your true self. It is also in such a place that we meet our personal storms and weather our demons. By confronting them head-on and honestly we quiet the noise and return to quiet equilibrium.
It is interesting that in many churches, temples, and sanctuaries, the most profound silence arises when those places are empty. The quietude invites inquiry, which is not usually welcome when they are occupied by people partaking in rituals, posturing, pleading, and partaking of special “practices” with some sort of “higher” end-goal in mind.
When seeking deeper experience and meaning of life and death, it is in quietude that we discover the natural virtue of humanity and our places in the overall scheme of things. It is through such stillness and quietude that we begin to comprehend the sanctity of the life of all beings on Earth and the existence of all that has been, exists now, and the promises for the future.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 17th and 18th century ophthalmologist, philosopher, and writer, Liu Yiming. “The Tao is clear, yet this clarity requires you to sweep away all your clutter. At all times watch out for your own stupidity, be careful of how your mind jumps around. When nothing occurs to involve your mind, you return to true awareness. When unified mindfulness is purely real, you comprehend the great restoration. The ridiculous ones are those who try to cultivate quietude–as long as body and mind are unstable, it is madness to go into the mountains.”