Thanks to the suggestion of a blog reader, I have recently taken an interest in the teachings of Pema Chodron, a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun. Chodron, who makes her home at Gampo Abbey, a monastery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, advocates spending time in silence. She says that at one point she spent a year in silence.
The notion of spending time in silence never appealed to me. All my life, I have been a doer and a lover of distraction. I have thrived on making lists and doing stuff, quite often, multi-tasking. Music playing while studying. Television on while eating. Lots of stuff going on [for several years I worked a ten hour a day job, taught karate in the evenings, took the kids to the arena on the weekends for hockey and figure skating and did long distance running … sound familiar?]. I could never just sit around and do nothing. I’d go stir crazy. It would seem that this way of living has worked against me [and I suspect for a lot of people experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s … it was for Michael J Fox].
And so, I have decided to embark on a new journey in my quest to recover my health. Sitting in silent solitude!
It would seem that I am being guided to so, having recently moved to a quiet lakefront apartment, just down the road from a labyrinth. The ideal setting for spending time in silence.
I can see the health benefits of quiet solitude. One of the keys to recovering my health is eliminating chronic stress and what better way to do so than spending time in silence. Calm the mind! Give the adrenal glands a much needed rest. Allow the part of the brain that produces dopamine and serotonin time to do its thing.
Pema Chrodron encourages people to spend as much time as possible in silence, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. The key is to minimize distractions: electronic gadgets, activities and, ideally, thought. Just sit and enjoy the silence!
Have an awesomely silent day!