Yesterday, I covered the 2013 Prize Day, or graduation, of Brooks School for the Eagle Tribune. It was a beautiful morning, especially under the tent set up for the ceremony on a grassy hill next to Lake Cochichewick. The wind was blowing, the birds were chirping, and after a rainy weekend spent babysitting, I was happy to sit and people watch, listening to snippets of conversation. I will admit though, that as the ceremony started, and continued, and went longer still, I was dreading sitting through the notorious graduation speech.
When the speaker, William N. Booth, president of the Brooks' Board of Trustees took the to podium, he said good morning, and then was silent. He glanced at the audience, as people began to look around awkwardly.
"You have just listened to ten seconds of silence," he began. Ten Seconds. That seems like no time at all, and yet, I can tell you that those seconds were long and uncomfortable. Booth had made his point well, showing just how uncomfortable we can be with quiet. He went on to discuss how in our culture we are constantly surrounded by noise, and missing out on listening.
The infamous graduate speech had caught my attention. I often find myself reaching for my smart phone to check email, peruse a new blog, or check-in by text with friends who I never seem to have time to call. Even sitting at traffic lights - let alone withe the radio off - can seem a tedious waste of time.
Booth's speech reminded me of the importance of just being. "Listen to your muses," he said. "To your god, your instincts."
I know that when I get busy my mind is constantly bustling, but producing nothing of quality. Taking time to be still, be quiet, and listen sets me on the right track. Whether it is meditating, doing yoga, or just being present, the investment of time spent being still is returned many times when I am able to think more clearly and produce better work.
So, I'd love to know, where and how do you listen to the silence? Why?
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