Silence is Golden

Posted On: February 13, 2012

This article first appeared on PubicHouse.sg.

Have you heard of the saying, “Speech is Silver, Silence is Golden?” This phrase can be traced back to early Egyptiansand it essentially means that while speaking is good, saying nothing is better. Discretion can be worth more than even eloquent words.

Have you ever felt glad, relieved even, to get away from someone because the person would not stop talking, and worse yet, about themselves?

Have you wished the person sitting behind you on the bus or standing behind you on the train would stop talking into their phone or to the person next to them at the top of their voice?

Then there is the gym. Have you ever wondered just why personal trainers need to be yelling when their client is just next to them, at the expense of everybody else there?

When I go to the gym, there is loud techno-thumping music blasting in the speakers overhead, so loud that in order to override it, I would have to turn on my preferred music on my headset to its full volume. On the rare occasions when I am the first at the gym, I ask them to kindly turn the music down, only to have to repeat this request at my next visit.

Silence is how we hear ourselves think. It is how we can listen to that still, small voice, also known as our inner voice, speak to us. Silence is how we catch our breath, process our thoughts, decipher our wishes and make decisions. Sometimes, I hear of people who are afraid of silence, afraid of being by themselves, afraid of facing the truth.

Apparently it is so difficult to find silence that it is now a commodity. According to the New York Post in 2010, you can experience a weeklong silent retreat at Shreyas Spa in Bangalore, India for US$3,000. A bargain compared to the US$21,000 that the Canadian Health Ministry shelled out for 15 bureaucrats to spend two days and one night in the countryside not speaking to each one another.

Living in a highly urbanised and densely populated place is no joke. There is no respite, no escape, and no room to breathe  other than into the armpit of your fellow commuter.

Find pockets of time, go within and be silent. In recent weeks, I have learned that there are other ways to meditate besides sitting cross-legged and being still.

For instance, there are:

• Standing meditation. Visit their MeetUp group here.

• Movement meditation. Check out 5 Rhythms brought to you by Dance Yourself Free.

• Writing meditation. Do morning pages and weekly reflections with the book, The Artist’s Way at Work.

You may question just how standing, moving or writing can be meditative. If you do it for the sake of doing it, then it is just an activity or busyness. If however you engage in an activity and are completely absorbed by it, could care less what others think  and are truly enthralled with the here and now, that is meditation. That is when your problems disappear. For that brief moment, the world fades away, and you exist. Be silent and know it is ok to be still.

Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.

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