Finding the Silence

Jack Brustkern ‘20

Silence. A gateway to the internal. And an opportunity that grows greater and greater as it becomes increasingly scarce.
By silence, I do not mean a mere absence of outside noise. I am instead referring to a sort of inner silence. One that only develops if we take a short break from the constant, overwhelming noise in our lives and allowing our minds to settle.
From this place of inner silence, we are able to take advantage of a few significant opportunities. For one, we can take a step back to reflect on what is actually going on in our lives and what is actually important to us. This will allow us to better understand who we are and where we are, which will strengthen us in the second opportunity silence gives: a time and a space to plan how we will put into practice actions in accordance with both our principles and our hopes.
If we go without silence for awhile (I’ll be the first to admit that I neglect this myself), and opt for the easy road of distraction (think gaming, social media, music, hyper-focus on school, etc.), we can start to feel a buildup of frustrations that aren’t fun to face. Ignoring these frustrations, however, doesn’t make them go away. It just pushes them further down the road and allows them to build up over time. This just makes it harder to turn to silence because the longer we wait, the more we have to work face and work through in ourselves. In other words, if we avoid taking a break from the hustle and bustle we have become accustomed to, we are making it harder for ourselves to take the opportunity to look at our life and to course correct in the direction we want to live toward.
Okay, but wait, I’m a busy kid. How do I have time for silence? Again, I’ve been there too. Here’s the trick.
You don’t have to start something totally new. Work with what you are already doing. I just decided to stop listening to music in the car. I would consciously choose to stop the constant noise (literal or figurative) so that my mind could unwind, something that I have never stopped due to just how much more relaxed I feel when my mind isn’t constantly spinning.
But perhaps you would like to take it up a notch and commit on a deeper level. Perhaps you commit to meditating for five minutes each day and to reflect for a minute or so after about what you want to accomplish that day. By getting to a nearly neutral mind, we can think on a deeper level and increase our capacity to live our lives in accordance with the good, true and the beautiful.