I am frightened by life’s open spaces. I clutter up silences with chatter, rush around pretending to be busy. On the rare occasions, however, when I quiet myself sufficiently to allow stillness, wondrous things happen:
In silence I am able to really sense another person.
In silence another person is able to see me for what I am.
I have never been kissed without a very deep silence occurring first.
I have never had an intelligent thought without silence preceding it.
I have never solved a problem without stillness.
I have never had a moment of clarity without stillness.
I don’t know why I feel the need to fill every space. My guess is that making noise and getting busy are things I do when I’m afraid.
It seems the more I long for something, the more I fear it. I long to be close to others. I long to be open and vulnerable enough for miracles to happen. I am dying to unclench my hands and abandon the illusion of control. I yearn for someone else to pick up the thread: another voice, another hand.
I am also terrified of these things.
Filling spaces with noise and activity appears to be a defense against anyone getting close.
They say human beings are made up mostly of water. I think we are comprised mainly of defenses. Defensiveness is a wonderful trait for survival, not so good for intimate relationships and everyday miracles.
I am aware that in order to connect with other human beings and with life experiences, I need to be undefended in silence and open spaces. I fear, however, that if I remain unguarded for too long, I will be scorched or trampled or feel the need to flee–or at least get behind a solid barricade.
Perhaps the secret is to develop accordion-like instincts, or the rhythms of a fish…a fluid ability to be open one minute, and closed the next.
It requires tremendous emotional flexibility to do that, as well as a lot of courage.
I think it would be worth a try.