After the excitement and celebration of the holiday season is behind us and the new year is under way, I’d like to propose that you join me in paying closer attention to the spaces between the sound. With all the conversations — those we have with others and those rattling around in our minds — it’s not often that we find a place for silence. Can you find the space between the sound — can you find the silence between the chatter? How can we possibly pay sincere attention to what’s right in front of us, if we cannot even stop to hear our own breath?
January is a perfect time to take the opportunity to learn to meditate or simply reconnect by exhaling and hearing the quiet and stillness all around you. The holidays can sometimes seem like a constant buzz of excitement and energy, and after all the hustle and bustle is behind us and the cleanup is complete, there is a sense of quiet, crisp, clear air that supports us. This sense of silence can support us in renewal and is part of a healthy cleansing of old unnecessary negative thoughts and feelings we may be holding.
There are many benefits to meditation, stillness and silence. There are many physiological benefits. Did you know that people who meditate have a reduction in their anxiety levels simply by reducing their blood lactate levels? They also tend to have a stronger immune system to fight off illness. People who find time for silence and stillness also have a more relaxed nervous system and can even normalize to an ideal weight easier than those who do not practice regular meditation.
There are also many psychological benefits. People who meditate on a regular basis can increase their serotonin that influences mood and behavior. Taking time for meditation and introspective silence can also make you less aggressive and more tolerant, more creative and focused. and can improve your concentration.
Aside from the proven benefits of meditation, silence and stillness, there is a secondary gain of listening to and hearing your own inner voice more clearly. As a psychotherapist, I’m not in the business of giving advice, but rather nurturing and supporting the quest for an answer within yourself. A therapist may assist with reframing thoughts or gently guiding toward another perspective, but ultimately the solutions to challenges we face in life are typically found deep within our own knowing, intuition and strengths. Sometimes we cannot hear these answers because we’re not taking the time to really listen.
I hope you’ll allow this January to be the beginning of a new season for you — a season of silence, stillness and crisp, clear, quiet thinking. Take time to “clear the clutter” of unnecessary negative thoughts and feelings and make room for a more positive you. For your own inner awareness, I hope you’ll join me in discovering the space between the sound.