The Stillness When Our Shouting Ends
We live in a time filled with shouting.
Some of us shout in person while others of us do our shouting online. Our passions inflate our calm, reasonable discussions into shouting matches.
We shout because we are trying to get so many words in as quickly as we can and because we are afraid we will be interrupted. Some of us shout when we are not convinced other people are listening. If we can talk a little bit faster and a little bit louder we will get out point across.
Many of us experience lives not knowing when shouting ends.
Some of us shout about our feelings while others shout about our ideas. We hear shouting about politics and shouting about sports. People shout when we are angry, when we are frustrated, when we are afraid. We hold some of our shouting inside ourselves.
As hard as it is to believe, some people even shout about spiritual life.
I know people who actually tune in to hear people shouting on television, on the radio, in movies, or online. Some of us want to read each latest installment of someone shouting in print.
It is as if we believe other people are more likely to listen to us when we start shouting.
I do not believe shouting is about listening. In my experience people are more likely to listen when our shouting ends.
Can we remember the last time our shouting ended? Sometimes it builds to a crescendo and we are unable to sustain it. Other times we run out of energy and get tired of shouting.
What happens when our shouting ends?
How do we listen to the stillness which comes when our shouting ends?
What Do We Hear When Our Shouting Ends?
Our contemplative practices show us how to listen to sacred stillness when our shouting ends.
When we are too worn out to continue shouting, most of us need to take a deep breath. It is helpful to take several of them, slowly, and allow air to fill our lungs.
Some of us close our eyes when our shouting ends, and some of us are close to tears. We are reluctant to stop shouting while we still have breath and anything to say. Many of us need to go as far as we possibly can before we stop.
When our shouting ends and we take a deep breath, we begin to listen to sacred stillness. Where the shouting has been driving people and things away from us, there is stillness.
We close our eyes, breathe in and breathe out, and listen.
It may take us a little time before we hear anything. We need to let the shouting and whatever caused it flow out of us. This is not a time for us to analyze or try to sort things out. Breathing out and breathing in we begin to listen to the stillness which was there even when there was shouting.
Our minds and hearts and bodies start to slow down. The strong feelings and passions and adrenaline which drove us into shouting recede and we settle into sacred stillness.
Listening to sacred stillness is not about feeling bad because we were shouting. We are not paying attention to the past or the future, only to the calm present moment.
When our shouting ends we each listen to our own sacred stillness. The stillness within us and the stillness in the world around us merge into one stillness.
We listen to the rhythms of stillness when we stop shouting.
When Our Shouting Ends
Sometimes our shouting ends when we wake up and realize shouting does not work for us. Other times we gradually begin to appreciate there are better ways to communicate than shouting at each other.
I know people for whom their shouting ended only when the stress of shouting stopped their hearts and minds and bodies.
Many of us live in a world where shouting is woven into our everyday lives. We have lost our understanding of where shouting ends because ti does not end for us.
Our world has become an unhealthy, toxic place for us to live.
Shouting has become our default setting. There is nothing about which we do not get tired or afraid or angry.
I believe spiritual life begins when our shouting ends. It is not about our responsibility to control or organize or manage.
Spiritual life is where we come to the end of our shouting and appreciate the power of sacred stillness. We recognize our shouting ends and live into the life around us and within us.
When we are shouting we focused on the results we want to accomplish. Sacred stillness shows us how to be open.
How All Our Shouting Ends
Our dependence on shouting ends when we begin to understand shouting does not work.
All our shouting and arguing and interrupting does not persuade people. We do not start listening until the shouting ends.
The end of shouting begins within us. We have heard our own shouting at ourselves longer than we can remember. As it has continued for year after year we have tried to contain it and force it into the background.
Shouting within us does not end because we try to push it away. The one thing we know about shouting is it persists and gets louder as it continues.
Our shouting ends only as we learn to listen to the sacred stillness behind it.
In the midst of shouting we decide to take a few minutes to take a deep breath. We sit still, close our eyes, and make a conscious decision to stop the shouting.
The shouting within us does not end as we allow it to continue.
Our shouting ends when we choose to listen to sacred stillness.
Where will we be today when our shouting ends?
How will we prepare this week for when our shouting ends?
[Image by www.ilmicrofono.it]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He has served as an assistant district attorney, an associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.